VANCOUVER – A British Columbia man convicted in the Air India bombing deaths of 331 people has been denied his request to participate in political matters.
“Your associations with others of a similar mindset were directly risk-related and led to the murders of many innocent people,” the Parole Board of Canada said in a ruling against Inderjit Singh Reyat.
The board said in its decision released Thursday that it considered comments by Reyat’s lawyer about his client’s rights under the charter to participate in political issues.
Reyat became eligible for statutory release in January after serving two-thirds of his nine-year sentence for perjury for lying at the trial of two other men charged in Canada’s worst mass murder 30 years ago.
The board also imposed a second condition for Reyat not to associate with anyone involved in political or criminal activity or extremist views.
Patrick Storey, regional spokesman for the parole board, said Reyat could consider the condition for him not to get politically involved as being too broad.
“That could be construed, I suppose, as not to associate with anyone involved in political activity, which means he couldn’t talk to his municipal councillor or an MP or a (member of the legislature) as any Canadian citizen would be able to do.”
Storey said the conditions will be in place for the duration of Reyat’s statutory release and that he could appeal the decision or take his case to the Federal Court if a new review is not ordered.
The Crown said the terrorist attack against state-owned Air India was prompted by British Columbia-based Sikh extremists’ revenge against the Indian government for ordering the army to raid Sikhism’s holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar in June 1984.
Two baggage handlers were killed at Tokyo’s Narita airport on June 23, 1985, when a suitcase exploded before it was loaded onto an Air India plane. That was the same day another suitcase bomb aboard an Air India plane exploded off the coast of Ireland, killing 329 people.
The Crown maintained the bomb-laden suitcases were loaded onto flights at Vancouver International Airport before one suitcase was transferred to an Air India plane in Toronto then headed to Montreal to pick up more passengers on its way to Delhi via London.
Reyat had previously pleaded guilty to reduced charges of helping to make the bombs at his home in Duncan, B.C., and spent five years in prison.
Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajiab Singh Bagri were both acquitted of mass murder and conspiracy in March 2005.