Air India bombing victims remembered 30 years later at Vancouver ceremony

WATCH: A sombre ceremony took place in Stanley Park Tuesday to mark the 30th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in Canadian history.

On June 23, 1985, an explosion ripped apart Air India Flight 182 en route to New Delhi, killing all 329 people aboard, most of them Canadians of South Asian descent.

On the 30th anniversary of the tragedy, the victims were remembered at a ceremony in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. It took almost 30 minutes to read the names of the 329 people who died in the worst terrorist act in Canadian history.

“I just hope that something like this should never happen again,” said Parvez Madden, whose husband died on Air India Flight 182. “We live in a very tumultuous world…my hope is that someday we find peace.”

READ MORE: Convicted Air India bomb maker loses sentence appeal for perjury

Authorities believe Sikh extremists fighting for an independent homeland sabotaged the Boeing 747, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Ireland.

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Former MLA Dave Hayer’s father was murdered just before he was to testify at the Air India trial.

“My heart is very heavy,” said Hayer Tuesday night. “Every day I think about the victims of Air India, including my father. And after 30 years basically one person has been convicted. Everybody else is walking free. It’s sad.”

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A federal commission of inquiry concluded that a “cascading series of errors” by police, intelligence officers and air safety regulators allowed the attack to take place.

The complex investigation of the crime was hampered by difficulty raising the wreckage from the ocean floor, agency turf wars and challenges persuading witnesses to come forward.

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READ MORE: Man acquitted in Air India case won’t get $9.2 million in costs reimbursed

Talwinder Singh Parmar, a prime suspect, died in 1992. In 2003, Inderjit Singh Reyat pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Two years later a British Columbia judge found Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik not guilty.

But police have not closed the file.

“I also know that we should never say never,” said Vancouver Sun reporter Kim Bolan, who wrote a book about the Air India bombing. “Maybe somebody nearing the end of their life will say, ‘I want to come forward and tell the truth about this case.’

“I sure hope that day comes.”

-with files from Julia Foy and Canadian Press

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