Friday 2 December 2016

Man behind 1985 Air India bombing off coast of Cork is released from prison

Published 27/01/2016 | 22:15

Manish Patel holds a picture of his eldest brother Bipin, a victim of the 1985 Air India Disaster after he attended a service at the memorial in Ahakista on Sheeps Head penninsula, West Cork, Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster
Manish Patel holds a picture of his eldest brother Bipin, a victim of the 1985 Air India Disaster after he attended a service at the memorial in Ahakista on Sheeps Head penninsula, West Cork, Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the disaster

The only person ever to be convicted in relation to the 1985 Air India explosion off the Cork coast has been released from prison.

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Inderjit Singh Reyat was today freed from a Canadian jail after serving two decades behind bars.

In one of the deadliest airline attacks in history, Air India Flight 182 blew up off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 passengers and crew, including 82 children.

All but a handful of those on board the flight, en route from Canada to Bombay, were of Indian origin with Canadian citizenship.

The search operation was spearheaded by the Irish naval vessel LE Aisling.

Its commander Captain Jim Robinson later recalled wreckage was strewn around a five mile area - with his ship surrounded by dead bodies in the water. 

The wreckage from Flight 182 which was located around 120 miles off the coast of Cork
The wreckage from Flight 182 which was located around 120 miles off the coast of Cork

An hour after the Cork bombing, an explosion at Tokyo’s Narita Airport killed two baggage handlers, when a device meant for another Air India flight blew up prematurely.

A spokesman for the Canadian Parole Board confirmed Reyat’s statutory release after serving two-thirds of a nine-year sentence.

The attack took place during an Indian crackdown on Sikhs fighting for an independent homeland.

Those who planned it were allegedly seeking revenge for the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by Indian troops.

Reyat, a Sikh immigrant to Canada, must abide by several conditions set by the parole board, including having no contact with victims’ families or alleged former co-conspirators, and must desist from all political activities.

He must also obtain counselling to address violent tendencies, a lack of empathy, and “cognitive distortions.”

“If at any time, his parole officer feels there’s a risk to the community he can return Reyat to prison,” a spokesman added.

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