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Aulakh Implicates Government of India for Air India Bombing


C.B.C. News, Vancouver, Jun. 30, 2004

A defence witness at the Air India trial has testified that the Indian government could have been behind the 1985 bombing plot. Gurmit Singh Aulakh testified he believes agents of the Indian government infiltrated Sikh organizations in North America. He made the comments while giving evidence at the B.C. Supreme Court trial of two men accused of the 1985 Air India bombings.

The theory that the Indian government was behind the bombings isn't new. It was the subject of a book [Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada by Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, Publishers), 1989] released a few years afterward. But Aulakh testified that the theory has merit.

Aulakh is the head of a Sikh separatist organization [Council of Khalistan] that's based in Washington, D.C. He's testifying on behalf of accused Air India bomber Ajaib Singh Bagri.

Aulakh said he believes Indian government agents infiltrated Sikh groups where they created chaos and caused Sikhs to be labelled as terrorists. He said one such group was the Babbar Khalsa, which is on Canada's list of terrorist organizations. At one time Bagri was a high-ranking member of the group.

The witness also testified it's possible a prominent Babbar Khalsa leader, who had ties to both Bagri and co-accused Ripudaman Singh Malik, was really a government agent. The leader, Talwinder Singh Parmar, is believed to have been the mastermind of the Air India bombing plot. Parmar was killed by Indian police a decade ago. Aulakh testified it's possible Parmar was murdered after he was through working as an Indian government agent.

Bagri and Malik are on trial charged with killing 331 people in two separate bombings on the same day in June 1985. One bomb killed 329 people on board Air India Flight 182, most of them Canadians. The other bomb killed two baggage handlers at Tokyo's Narita Airport.

The trial continues.