On this day…..26 years ago, the deadliest act of terrorism involving a single aircraft happened thousands of feet above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland. An Air India jumbo jet en route from Montreal to Heathrow was blown up, killing all 329 people on board.
The previous year, the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden Temple at Amritsar, had been stormed by Indian troops, and the police investigation in Canada centred on Sikh extremists. One, alleged to be the mastermind, was killed in a gun battle with Indian police in 1992.
It was not until 2000 that the first suspects were charged. Inderjit Singh Reyat was sentenced to five years in prison, but two others were acquitted. There were claims that some witnesses were intimidated, and that another was murdered before he could give evidence.
An official investigation published in 2010 was highly critical of the government, the police and the intelligence services, while in January of this year, Reyat was gaoled for nine years for perjuring himself to protect the two men who were acquitted. For more, see A Disastrous History of the World.