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Sikh of being called a Terrorist


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On a more serious note:

Here is a brief chronology surrounding the events leading up to the acquittal of Messrs Malik and Bagri earlier this year. The forum readers can deduce the facts for themselves.


CanWest News Service

1978 to May 1984 -- Sikh leaders in India and abroad start talking about separatism. They are led in England by Dr. Jagjit Singh Chouhan and in Punjab by the charismatic Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who begins to amass arms and supporters in the Golden Temple complex, Sikhism's holiest shrine, in Amritsar.

1978 -- In Vancouver, suspected Air India mastermind Talwinder Singh Parmar starts the militant separatist group Babbar Khalsa at the urging of Bhai Jiwan Singh, a leader of the fervently religious Akhand Kirtani Jatha.

June 29, 1983 -- Parmar is arrested in Germany on an Interpol warrant saying he is wanted for murder in India in 1981. With assistance from two friends in Canada, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Surjan Singh Gill, he wins his release in July 1984.

June 5, 1984 -- Indian government troops storm Amritsar's Golden Temple, galvanizing Sikh extremists who favour an armed struggle to get an independent Sikh nation called Khalistan carved from Punjab.

July 1984 -- Talwinder Parmar, fresh from a German jail, address supporters at a Calgary Sikh temple, saying Air India planes will fall from the sky in retaliation for the Golden Temple attack.

Oct. 30, 1984 -- Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by her Sikh bodyguard in retaliation for the Golden Temple raid. Sikh separatists in Vancouver dance in the streets and later hold services at the Ross Street temple for her assassin.

June 4, 1985 -- Agents of the fledgling Canadian Security Intelligence Service follow Parmar to Duncan on Vancouver Island. Accompanied by Inderjit Singh Reyat, and an unidentified man dubbed Mr. X, the trio sets off explosives in the woods. Police say they were testing materials for the Air India bomb.

June 19, 1985 -- Parmar and his associates exchange coded messages and one of the associates books two plane tickets, by phone, for two flights that connect with Air India flights.

June 20, 1985 -- A turbaned man picks up the two tickets, paying with $3,005 cash. The tickets are booked in the names of M. Singh, who had a seat on a flight to Toronto that connected with Air India Flight 182, and L. Singh, who was booked on a CP Air flight to Tokyo, then on an Air India flight.

June 23, 1985 -- A bomb explodes at Japan's Narita airport in a Vancouver suitcase tagged for an AIr India flight. Two baggage handlers are killed and four others wounded. Less than an hour later, Air India Flight 182 blows up off the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 aboard.

Nov. 8, 1985 -- Parmar and Reyat, the two men who were in Duncan, are arrested in connection with Air India. Charges against Parmar are dropped and Reyat is fined for a minor explosives charge.

Jan. 22, 1986 -- The Canadian Aviation Safety Board says a bomb brought down the Air India jet.

May 31, 1986 -- Five Montreal members of Babbar Khalsa are charged with conspiring to blow up another Air India jet scheduled to leave New York on June 1. Two are convicted, but six years later win an appeal. Charges are stayed against the others.

June 1986 -- Parmar, Ajaib Singh Bagri and several Ontario members of their Babbar Khalsa group are arrested and charged with conspiring to kidnap the children of an Indian MP and bomb the Indian parliament. The charges are eventually dropped because evidence was obtained illegally.

Dec. 15, 1987 -- Canada's spy agency confirms some tapes of wire-tap recordings related to the suspects in the Air India crash were erased, although it claims the investigation won't be hampered. The tapes had been sought by RCMP investigators.

July 1988 -- Parmar crosses the U.S. border, makes his way to New York and flies to Pakistan on a friend's passport for an international meeting of the Babbar Khalsa. He remains based there for the rest of his life.

Aug. 26, 1988 -- Sikh publisher Tara Singh Hayer, who had written extensively against the violence of some separatist groups, is gunned down at his Surrey, B.C., newspaper office. He survives the attack, but is paralysed. A Sikh youth linked to militants, Harkirat Singh Bagga, pleads guilty to attempted murder.

May 10, 1991 -- Inderjit Singh Reyat is convicted of fabricating the explosive device that killed two baggage handlers at Narita Airport. He is sentenced a month later to 10 years for manslaughter.

Oct. 15, 1992 -- Air India bombing suspect and Babbar Khalsa founder Talwinder Parmar is murdered in police custody in Punjab. Two senior Punjab police officers later admit Parmar was tortured, held in custody for two weeks, then killed.

May 31, 1995 -- The RCMP announces a $1-million reward for information leading to the arrest of the Air India bombers and brings in the top homicide investigators in Canada to work on the file.

December 1997 -- An investigation is started of Surrey's Khalsa School after allegations of misuse of government funds, mistreatment of students and links to Sikh terrorists, including Parmar and Reyat. A convicted hijacker is found living in the basement and deported.

Nov. 18, 1998 -- Tara Singh Hayer, who was to be a witness in the Air India bombing case, is assassinated in the garage of his Surrey home. The case remains unsolved.

September 2000 -- Air India suspect Surjan Singh Gill quietly leaves Canada for England, claiming to be on vacation. He has never returned.

Oct. 27, 2000 -- Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri are charged with conspiracy to murder in connection with the bombings of Air India Flight 182 and at Narita on June 23, 1985.

June 6, 2001 -- Reyat is charged in Air India Flight 182 bombing just days before his 10-year sentence for his role in the Narita bombing is up.

Nov. 15, 2002 -- Hardial Singh Johal, a suspect in the Air India bombing, dies of a liver ailment without ever facing charges.

Feb. 10, 2003 -- Reyat pleads guilty to one count of manslaughter and is sentenced to five years in jail. Some victims' families are outraged at the plea bargain.

April 28, 2003 -- The trial of Malik and Bagri begins in B.C. Supreme Court before Justice Ian Bruce Josephson in a packed, high-security courtroom.

May 18, 2004 -- Lead prosecutor Bob Wright wraps the Crown's case after 13 months and 80 witnesses.

May 19, 2004 -- Defence witnesses for Malik begin by attempting to cast doubt on the timing of a critical meeting in Seattle of the alleged conspirators.

June 23, 2004 -- Supreme Court of Canada upholds a contentious anti-terrorism law that allows the RCMP to force the wife of Inderjit Singh Reyat to answer questions about the Air India bombing at an investigative hearing. But the hearing never proceeds and Satnam Kaur Reyat is never called as an Air India witness.

Dec. 3, 2004 -- After 19 months and 232 court days, the Crown and defence rest in Canada's longest and most complex criminal trial.

March 16, 2005 -- Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri are found not guilty of all charges in the Air India bombings.

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