Toronto: Inderjit Singh Reyat, the lone person convicted for the 1985 Air India Kanishka airliner bombing, will soon be released from prison in British Columbia. Air India Kanishka’s Flight 182 from Montreal to Delhi was blown off mid-air near the Irish coast on June 23, 1985, killing all 329 people and crew on board.
Within an hour, another bomb meant for another Air India flight from Tokyo to Mumbai went off during luggage transfer at the Tokyo airport, killing two baggage handlers. Both the bombs were hidden in suitcases and checked in at Vancouver airport. Vancouver-based Khalistani extremists had planned the bombing to avenge the 1984 army action at the Golden Temple in Amritsar to flush militants.
Reyat – an electrical mechanic – had assembled and tested the bomb that went off at Tokyo airport for which he was given 10 years in jail in 1991. After this, he was given another five years in jail for his role also in the Air India Kanishka bombing. After his release, Reyat was charged in 2010 with lying under oath during the trial of the two main Air India bombing accused — Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri – in 2003 when he was brought from jail to testify.
Both Malik and Bagri were eventually found not guilty and freed in March 2005. After his perjury trial, Reyat was jailed for another nine years in January 2011. After getting credit for the time already served, he was to serve seven years and seven months in jail.
Since under the Canadian laws convicts can be released from jail after two-thirds of their sentence to serve the remainder of the term in the community, Reyat will get an automatic release from jail. Under terms of release by Parole Board of Canada, Reyat will be regularly monitored after his release. He is forbidden from propagating extremist views or associating with those who hold extremist views. He is also not allowed to possess anything for building explosive devices. Reyat will be forbidden from contacting the families of Air India victims.