Tuesday 28 March 2017

Tributes to family killed in Air India blast 30 years ago

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
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A Canadian poet who lost her aunt and uncle in the Air India terrorist atrocity will unite with other relatives of victims to mark the 30th anniversary of the tragedy.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar (53) will join with those who lost loved ones on Flight 182 as well as Irish officials at the special memorial in Ahakista in west Cork tomorrow.

The memorial was erected at the closest point of land to the Air India flight before it was destroyed by a terrorist bomb, 100 miles off the coast.

The Air India Boeing 747 was destroyed on June 23, 1985, when a terrorist bomb detonated while it was cruising at 31,000ft on the Montreal-London-Delhi service. All 329 people on board died.

They included 268 Canadians, 24 Britons and 24 Indians, as well as other nationalities.

Renée Sarojini Saklikar was just 23 when the atrocity occurred.

She will deliver a special reading from one of her books in the Uillinn Arts Centre in Skibbereen tonight before attending the poignant memorial ceremony which will take place at Ahakista tomorrow.

"My family will never forget the compassionate care given to us by the people of Cork in the days just after the bombing," she said.

"Search and recovery crews as well as nurses and doctors, and many local people, reached out with kindness and incredible support and continue to do so till this day," she added.

The experiences of the Air India tragedy touched much of the poet's work and, later this year, some of her poetry will be adapted for music and voice in an Irish-Canadian production supported by Culture Ireland and featuring Jurgen Simpson and Tom Creed.

Renée's aunt and uncle were flying home to India on the day of the tragedy, having visited Canada. Their only son lives in India. Renée will be in Ireland until June 26.

Irish Independent

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