Criticism at failure to prosecute more over 1985 Air India bombing

Mother who lost two sons says Indian government ignored warnings of terrorist attack

Dr Padmini Turlapati at the   30th anniversary commemoration of the Air India bombing  at the Flight 182 Memorial, Ahakista, West Cork, June 23rd, 2015. Dr Turlapati lost  two sons, Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11), in the terrorist attack. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

Dr Padmini Turlapati at the 30th anniversary commemoration of the Air India bombing at the Flight 182 Memorial, Ahakista, West Cork, June 23rd, 2015. Dr Turlapati lost two sons, Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11), in the terrorist attack. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

 

A woman who lost two sons in the Air India bombing off the Irish coast in 1985 has criticised the Canadian government for failing to prosecute more people involved in the terrorist attack.

Dr Padmini Turlapati lost her two sons, Sanjay (14) and Deepak (11) in the terrorist attack.

Sanjay’s body was found but Deepak’s body was not.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Ahakista Memorial Garden in West Cork to mark the 30th anniversary of the bombing, Dr Turlapati said she holds no grudges but wishes justice was done.

‘Wicked powerful persons’

“I cannot accept that the wicked powerful persons that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and journalists say they know perpetrated this crime have been scot-free for 30 years,” she said.

Only one man, Sikh militant Inderjit Singh Reyat, has been convicted of his role in the bombing. He is due for release soon after having been sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2003.

Two other Sikh extremists, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, were both cleared of more than 300 counts of first degree murder and other charges at a trial in Vancouver in 2005.

Dr Turlapati, from Markham in Ontario, said she could not accept that 30 years on from the atrocity, only one person had been convicted and jailed for his part in the crime.

“I cannot accept that my children and all these innocent victims’ deaths were in vain as justice has not yet been served,” she said in an address on behalf of the bereaved at Ahakista.

‘Heinous crime’

“To add insult to injury, the attempt to justify this heinous crime as retaliation for some incident is not only unthinkable, it is evil,” she added.

Dr Turlapati was also critical of the Indian government, which she said had failed to heed warnings that Sikh extremists were planning to carry out an attack on an Air India flight from Canada to India.

“I cannot accept that today, some 30 years on, the Indian government has not acknowledged or admitted its responsibility for what happened,” she said.

Dr Turlapati called on the Indian government to erect a memorial to the victims in India so relatives there would have somewhere to visit if they were unable to come to Ahakista.

“Also, I cannot accept that Air India did not listen to the threat and endangered their own crew and have neglected the crew’s families,” said Dr Turlapati.

“They have never once sent any representative for the crew here in the 28 years that we have held a ceremony to remember those who died in the bombing.”

Dr Turlapati, who has been in Ireland for the past few days with her husband, Babu, extended her condolences and those of the other Air India bereaved to the Irish families who lost their sons and daughters in the Berkeley tragedy.