Who was Ripudaman Singh Malik, the 1985 Air India bombing accused who was shot dead in Canada?
Ripudaman Singh Malik was arrested along with Ajaib Singh Bagri and Inderjeet Singh Reyat as the main accused in the blowing up of Air India Flight 182 at an altitude of 31,000 feet over Irish airspace. All 329 passengers onboard the Boeing 747 aircraft from Montreal to Delhi were killed. He was acquitted by the Canadian court for want of evidence.
Canada-based Sikh leader Ripudaman Singh Malik, who was acquitted by the Canadian judiciary in 2005 in the 1985 Air India Kanishka bombing, was shot dead by three unidentified assailants outside his Surrey office in Canada’s British Columbia on Thursday morning.
Authorities said Malik, who founded the Khalsa Credit Union and ran a number of Khalsa schools in the country, was shot dead around 10 am local time when he was travelling to his office. Assailants opened fire at Malik from point-blank range and then fled in a Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said, adding that Malik succumbed to injuries on the spot.
The assailants later ditched the SUV a few kilometres away, setting it on fire to eliminate any evidence, the RCMP.
Who is Ripudaman Singh Malik?
Malik migrated from Punjab to Canada in 1972. He started off as a cab driver and started earning his livelihood as a cab driver.
Malik was arrested along with Ajaib Singh Bagri and Inderjeet Singh Reyat as the main accused in the blowing up of Air India Flight 182 at an altitude of 31,000 feet over Irish airspace. All 329 passengers on board the Boeing 747 aircraft from Montreal to Delhi were killed.
A separate blast at Narita airport in Tokyo killed two Japanese nationals who were loading baggage onto an Air India flight.
Investigations pointed toward the role of Sikh separatists based in Canada in retaliation for Operation Blue Star of 1984, executed by Indian troops in the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Reyat was convicted and awarded a 10-year sentence in the Narita case. He got an additional five years for his role in the Air India bombing. Malik and Bagri were acquitted since Reyat told the court that he could not remember the names of those involved. Prosecutors, who believed that he had links with the terrorist organization Babbar Khalsa, had then said that the duo would not have gone scot-free had Reyat told the truth in court.
He was in jail for four years before being acquitted. After being acquitted, Malik sought compensation of $9.2 million from the Canadian government. However, the demand was rejected by a British Columbia judge.
Malik was banned from entering for over a decade. Based on the request by Sikh organizations, the Narendra Modi government gave him a single entry visa in 2020. He was again granted a visa in May this year to visit India, during which he made a pilgrimage to Delhi, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
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