Acquitted suspect of Air India bombing shot dead — Analysis
Years after being cleared of perpetrating Canada’s worst terrorist attack, a former suspect has been killed in British Columbia
In Canada, a suspected terrorist who had taken down an Air India plane with a suitcase bomb, in 1985, and killed 329 people has been shot dead. Police believe it was targeted murder.
According to police, Ripudaman Sing Malik (75) was killed at the spot after he was shot in Surrey, British Columbia. A witness told Canada’s CBC News that he heard three shots, then pulled Malik from his red Tesla. A neck injury had caused the victim to be bleeding.
“We are aware of Mr. Malik’s background, though at this time we are still working to determine the motive,”In a statement, homicide investigators claimed. “We can confirm that the shooting appears to be targeted, and there is not believed to be any further risk to the public.”
Malik is a Sikh businessman from India who came to Canada in 1972. The incident marked Canada’s deadliest terrorist attack on record. A second bomb, intended for an Air India flight, exploded at Tokyo’s airport killing 2 baggage handlers. This brought the death toll up to 331. The majority of victims were children.
The prosecution claimed that Sikh extremists from British Columbia attacked state-owned Air India in retaliation for the June 1984 attack on Amritsar’s Golden Temple, Punjab. About 400 people were killed in the raid. The incident angered Sikhs who claimed that Indian officials had desecrated their holy shrine.
Malik, along with an alleged accomplice Ajaib Sing Bagri were acquitted by mass murder and conspiracy after a lengthy trial which lasted two years. Inderjit Singh, the only suspect in the Air India attack was found guilty and he later convicted for perjury.
Malik’s son, Jaspreet Singh Malik, lamented that media outlets and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) always looked at his father as an accused Air India bomber. “He was wrongly charged, and the court concluded there was no evidence against him,”Malik, the younger said. “The media and RCMP never seemed to accept the court’s decision, and I pray today’s tragedy is not related.”
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After moving to Canada, the senior Malik worked initially as a taxi driver. He later went on to lead British Columbia’s Khalsa Credit Union and Khalsa Schools. These schools, which taught the Punjabi language, Sikh history, and the Canadian standard curriculum, have been criticized for receiving government funding even after Malik’s arrest as an Air India bomber.
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