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W.S.O.: "Actual Perpetrators" of Flight 182 Disaster Have Not Been Caught
By KIM BOLAN
The Vancouver Sun, Feb. 17, 2003
"Despite a guilty plea last week in connection with the 1985 bombing of an Air India jet, some followers of the Sikh separatist movement still think the truth about the plot is being covered up by Canadian authorities. And one group, the World Sikh Organization [W.S.O.], even suggested the 'actual perpetrators' have not been brought to justice. . . . The plea, for which Reyat received a five-year sentence, was a reversal of Reyat's public declarations of innocence going back more than 17 years. Many of his supporters in the movement also proclaimed his innocence, as well as that of his two co-accused, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who are due to go to trial Mar. 31."
"Parmar was killed by Punjab police in 1992, but is still revered by some as a martyr for his militant support of Khalistan, the mythical Sikh nation separatists fought to have carved from India's Punjab. World Sikh Organization international president Ram Raghbir Singh Chahal said from Calgary he has doubts about the Air India prosecution. 'It is our continued hope that the actual perpetrators of this crime will be brought to justice,' Chahal said. 'We expect that this case may not be resolved, or jurisprudence served, if there is a failure to produce credible evidence for conviction.' In a statement, the W.S.O., which has never supported the armed struggle for Khalistan, also renewed its call for a public inquiry, but made no specific reference to Reyat's plea. 'Most Sikhs believe that all aspects of the crime, the foreign and domestic police work, and the prima facie evidence, should be thoroughly examined by an independent body,' Canadian president Ajit Singh Sahota said."
"Dr. Gurmit Singh Aulakh, of the Washington, D.C.-based Council of Khalistan, claimed that Canadian and Indian authorities are covering up 'the Indian government's own responsibility for this atrocity that killed 329 people.' He said the Reyat plea is all part of the plot. 'The evidence clearly continues to show that the Indian regime blew up its own airliner to damage the Sikh freedom movement,' Aulakh said. The same types of comments have been made for years by Khalistanis who claimed Reyat was innocent, as well as the late Parmar."
"Surrey Sikh leader Amrit Singh Rai, once a member of the separatist International Sikh Youth Federation [I.S.Y.F.], said he accepts Reyat's plea and feels horrible for the bombing's 329 victims. Rai said the Air India bombing damaged the Khalistani movement to the point where his faction of the federation finally disbanded after years of being linked to terrorism. Rai said he is still a Khalistani at heart, but does not believe in violence to advocate for his homeland. 'The image of our movement was just destroyed after that,' said Rai, who now advocates for human rights in Punjab. 'That bomb killed 329 innocent people.' "
"Another former I.S.Y.F. leader, Jagtar Singh Sandhu, refused to comment on Reyat's guilty plea, saying he doesn't have all the information regarding it. For years, the federation claimed Reyat was innocent. 'We don't have any details on how it happened,' he said. 'We don't know what is behind that thing that was done with Mr. Reyat.' Sandhu, who is now a local president of the new separatist United Sikh Federation, also said the Air India bombing damaged the movement for Khalistan. 'It did have some effect,' Sandhu said, though he would not elaborate."