15 Jul 2022

Ripudaman Malik, freed in 1985 Air India bombing, shot dead in Canada!

Canadian police say they are still working to determine a motive for the targeted killing of Ripudaman Singh Malik, a 75-year-old Sikh man who was acquitted in the tragic 1985 Air India Kanishka terror bombing case.
Malik was shot and killed Thursday in Surrey, British Columbia. Malik and co-accused Ajaib Singh Bagri were acquitted in 2005 of charges of mass murder and conspiracy related to twin bombings in 1985 that killed 331 people, CBC News reported.

The report quoted a witness as saying he "heard three gunshots and pulled Malik out of his red Tesla bleeding from a neck wound." Another witness from a nearby business identified Malik as the shooting victim.

The Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said "a man shot at this location around 9:30 a.m. succumbed to his injuries at the scene. It appears to be a targeted shooting and the victim's name is not being released." Police said they found a "suspicious vehicle" that was "engulfed in fire," the report added.

Another report in ABC News said that while police did not initially release the victim's identity, they confirmed it after Malik's son Jaspreet Malik posted a statement on social media about his father's shooting death.

"The media will always refer to him as someone accused of the Air India bombing," Malik's son wrote on Facebook, according to ABC News.

"The media and the RCMP never seem to accept the court's decision and I pray today's tragedy is not related to that." The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said in a statement: "We are aware of Mr. Malik's background, although we are still working to determine a motive at this time. We can confirm that the shooting appears to be targeted and there is not believed to be any further risk to the public." The 1985 Air India bombing ranks among the worst terrorist attacks in Canadian and airline history.

On June 23, 1985, Air India Flight 182, carrying 329 people, including 268 Canadian citizens and 24 Indian citizens, flew from Toronto and stopped in Montreal, en route to London and then on to its final destination of Mumbai.

The plane was flying 31,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean when a suitcase bomb exploded in the forward cargo hold, killing everyone on board.

Another bomb was intended to be placed on an Air India flight due to take off from Japan, but it exploded at Tokyo's Narita Airport, killing two baggage handlers.

A CBC News report said reactions to Malik's death were mixed. While Malik's friends said they had "lost a hero of the Sikh community," former British Columbia premier Ujjal Dosanjh, a former acquaintance of Malik's, said he was a controversial figure.

"One of the other complicating factors is that he recently visited India where he wrote a letter in support of [Prime Minister] Modi and his policies, and I think that may have had repercussions and ramifications within the community," Dosanjh said in the report.

The CBC report added that in recent years, Malik served as chairman of the Khalsa School and ran two campuses of the private school in Surrey and Vancouver. He was also president of Vancouver-based Khalsa Credit Union (KCU), which has more than 16,000 members.

Inderjit Singh Reyat was convicted on various charges and spent 30 years in prison for helping to make bombs and lying during trials, including Malik's. He was released in 2016 after serving two-thirds of his sentence for perjury.

Reyat was the only person convicted of the Kanishka bombing, which is blamed on Khalistan extremists seeking revenge for the Indian Army's Golden Temple operation to flush out militants in 1984.

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