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Sikhism Who Bombed Air India?

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by plamba, Feb 13, 2006.

  1. plamba

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    Jul 1, 2004
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    Who Bombed Air India?

    A review of Loss of Faith: How the Air India Bombers Got Away With Murder by Kim Bolan (McClelland & Stewart; September 13, 2005; pp. 388; $27.95).


    The Sikh Times, Boston, Feb. 13, 2006

    Photo: Loss of Faith

    Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the details of the Air India case and the surrounding events than Kim Bolan. She had barely joined the Vancouver Sun newspaper as a rookie reporter when Air India Flight 182 exploded in the sky on July 23, 1985, killing all 329 on board. Ever since, Bolan has doggedly followed the case for two decades, making four trips to India and several visits to Pakistan, the U.S., and the U.K.

    This book, the result of her long and arduous 'sewa' (service, p. 206), takes the reader through the backdrop, the bombing, and the tortuous investigation that climaxed in the twin trials and acquittals of two Vancouver-based Sikhs, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri.

    The entire episode is packed with ironies. Cowards like Bagri, who publicly called for the murder of 'fifty thousand Hindus' (p. 46), are roaming free. Meanwhile, the few who demonstrated the courage to expose the violence and hatred were either assassinated or are living under death threats.

    Tara Singh Hayer was the founding editor of the vernacular weekly Indo-Canadian Times. A failed attempt on his life on August 28, 1988, just days after he published his 'most pointed reference to Bagri' (p. 196), left him in a wheelchair. Harkirat Singh Bagga told the police that 'Bagri had provided him with the .357-caliber revolver he had used to shoot Hayer' (p. 191).

    Tarsem Singh Purewal, publisher of the British Punjabi-language newspaper Des Pardes, was assassinated in 1995 after he 'wrote an article that was extremely critical of the I.S.Y.F. [International Sikh Youth Federation] and promised more exposés on the Babbar Khalsa' (p. 195).

    'Rani Kumar' (not her real name) was the star witness against Malik. A note she had tucked into her journal said that 'if she were found dead, she had not committed suicide' (p. 153).

    Many of the Sikhs at the forefront on both sides of the extremist-moderate divide surrounding the Air India story were 'born again' Sikhs. That is, they had shed the orthodox external regalia, including unshorn hair and turbans, only to reacquire the symbols in the religiously hyper-charged milieu following Operation Bluestar. (Bluestar was the Indian army's 1984 offensive on the Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple complex at Amritsar, Punjab, a Sikh Vatican of sorts.) Examples include Talwinder Singh Parmar, Bagri, and Hayer.

    As the book makes clear, Canadian federal authorities might never have laid many of the related charges (e.g. against Malik's Khalsa School) had they not been repeatedly shamed into doing so by Bolan's proactive investigative journalism.

    Inderjit Singh Reyat is the only person ever to have been convicted in connection with this case. He was convicted for manslaughter for making the bombs that destroyed two Air India craft, including Kanishka (Flight 182). The revolver used to shoot Hayer and the one found illegally in Reyat's possession were both traced back to the same source in California (p. 215).

    Malik would surely not wish to be judged by the company he kept. The first three witnesses who took the stand in his defense were 'proven by the Crown [prosecution] to have a history of lying' (p. 328). One defense witness for Malik, Raminder Singh 'Mindy' Bhandher, admitted to having thrown rocks through the living room window of prosecution witness Narinder Gill in 1997 to keep him from disclosing financial irregularities at Malik's Khalsa School (p. 326). Another defense witness, Satwant Singh Sandhu, admitted to having made an on-air death threat against Bolan (p. 327).

    Malik himself had 'lied under oath' at the hearing in connection with the funding for his legal defense for the Air India trial (p. 282).
    According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.), 'all [prosecution witnesses] had passed lie-detector tests that the defence witnesses had not had to take' (p. 349). The judge, Ian Josephson, declared defense witness Reyat to be 'an unmitigated liar under oath' (p. 339).

    The prosecution, the defense, and the judge all 'accepted that Talwinder Parmar had masterminded the bombings' (p. 339). But if Parmar, the chief of the Babbar Khalsa, was the 'mastermind,' then how are Bagri, Parmar's self-acknowledged deputy (p. 315), and Malik, the Babbar Khalsa's primary financier (p. 32), to be regarded as innocent?

    Given all of the above, it is no small miracle that Kim Bolan actually survived long enough to document her detailed findings this book. And for that we should all be grateful.


    Puneet Singh Lamba
    Boston, MA
    (339) 221-1561
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  3. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    What makes Kim Bolan more "worthy of beleiving" than say another Journalsit who wrote SOFT TARGET.
    SOFT TARGET came out earlier and puts the entire blame for this SORDID EPISODE on GOVT OF INDIA.

    The truth is thta Kim bolan ahs been persistent in maligning the entire Sikh community as Khalsiatanis/terrorists/murders etc etc all along....so this latest tirade agaisnt the two INNOCENT Sikhs is faulty. Kim Bolans Obviously biased anti-sikh writings led to the mistaken "beleif"that the two accused are "guilty"....hence the SHOCK when FACTS proved otherwise...hence this reenwed effort to maintain.. main na MANNUU

    I would rather place my BETS on the CANADIAN JUDICIARY....not PAID/BOUGHT Journalists. The Canadian Judiciary PROVED the two accused INNOCENT and ACQUITTED THEM. Good enough for me and many others.

    Jarnail Singh gyani
  4. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 4, 2004
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    Another two views i came across on the Internet..mailing lists:down:

    Dear Sadh Sangat Ji,

    I could not agree more with Sardar Bikramjit Singh who has very convincingly answered Mr. Lamba's Cock and Bull story under the guise of doing the book review of his favourite " Rev. Kim Bolan"

    Kim Bolan was in Toronto yesterday, trying to "sell her book" and looks like Mr. Lamba is helping his heroine in USA. The jaundiced Canadian media for a change did refer to Sikh allegations of bias against Ms Bolan but refused to inform the public, the details of questions from Sikh students.

    What amazes me in this so called review by Mr. Lamba is the total lack of shame and journalistic ethics in repeating and recyling the lies and myths which the anti Sikh forces with active support our enemies keep heaping in the western media.

    Mr. Lamba is in the illustrious company of Kim Bolan, Ujjal Dosanjh. Balwant Gill, Heyer and others who seem to have made it their religion to defame the Sikh saroop, The Sikh struggle for freedom, justice and human rights and continue to weave the web lies to please their masters. Many of them actively work as collaborators, informers and agent sabotures.

    In his so called book review, no where Mr. Lamba ever mentions well known facts ( as described in the book Soft Target) that Indian Government has been playing dirty tricks with the Sikh struggle here in Canada and may have been responsible for this tragedy.

    While Mr. Lamba gleefully talks about the "unmitigated liars" as defense witnesses, he totally omits the comments from the presiding judge about the prosecution witnesses whom the judge believed were not credible. No where Mr. Lamba mentions millions of dollars that were paid to prosection witnessess to lie and fabricate their testimony against these Sikhs.

    No where Mr. lamba mentions the widespread mistrust of Kim Bolan in the Sikh community and that she is known for complete bias against Sikhs and fabricates, twist or selectively pick facts to fit her pre-concieved agenda. Mr. Lamba refuses to mention how many times Kim Bolan has gone to India and the list of her hosts and the role of Indian Governemnt or its front agencies. No where Mr. Lamba mentions that almost 100 million dollars and the entire might of Canadian Government was used to convict two innocent Sikhs who were largely implicated because of the mass hysteria generated by the Ms Bolan and her ilk.

    The last paragraph of Mr. Lamba " regarding the miracle that she is still alive to tell her story is most laughable and ludicrous.. He talks about the death threats (real, imaginary or fabricated- only Ms Kim Bolan knows best) that Ms Bolan has received. As Sardar Bikarmjit Singh has pointed out, it is not unusual for journalists/authors to make up such allegations to create a buzz and sell the story or a book. Even yesterday "Toronto Star" in its story gave prominence to these allegations of Ms. Bolan who has been elevated as a poster journalist for press freedom and kind of martyr and is now trying to cash in, her hero status.. But even if these allegations are true, what Mr. Lamba totally ignores is the track record of Indian government in engineering such threats to achive its larger goal of Sikh defamation.

    Every one ( including Mr. Lamba) knows what happened in New Jersy when Sukhi and Kuki were to be produced in the court house for their extradition hearings to India. There were armoured vehicles and sharp shooters on the roof tops near by because some one on behalf of so called "Sikh terrorists" had written a threatening letter to the Judge/ Prosecutor. Later during investigations by FBI it was found that the Assistant Prosecutor herself wrote that letter on her typewriter. During investigations it was also found that she had recently visited New Delhi. I leave it to dear readers to conclude who may be behind that threatening letter or who may have offered her the inducements to fabricate that threat.

    Mr. Lamba belongs to a group of people here in the west who use racially charges epithets like fundamentalist, orthodox, terrorists, separatists etc, calculated to defame Sikhs with the sole purpose of undermining the Sikh saroop, Sikh freedom struggle with the larger goal of complete assimilation.

    Lastly I have just ONE question for Mr. Lamba....Has he or Kim Bolan, in all their writings EVER called Indira Gandhi as a terrorist/mass murderer or evil and his son Rajiv Gandhi responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs as terrorist and genocidal maniac????

    Gurteg Singh

    Note to moderator:
    Please publish my posting along with Sardar Bikaramjit Singh's so that readers have full view of the whole story. Thanks.

    bikramjit singh <
    bik10@yahoo.com> wrote: If one didn't know the fact that both defendents were
    ACQUITTED, [after reading Mr Lamba's review] one could
    almost assume that Kim Bolan had
    put away two very dangerous 'terrorists'. The facts
    tell a different story. I assume that Mr Lamba has
    taken the trouble to read the verdict of the judge in
    this case because if he has then he would not be
    singing the praises of so-called investigative
    reporters. It was the biased writing of reporters like
    Kim Bolan which led most of the public to believe that
    both defendants would be found guilty and the trial
    was just a formality. Hence the shock when the verdict
    was given. Just as Mr Lamba points out the holes in
    the defence witnesses none of the prosecution
    witnesses came out any the better, going by the
    judge's refusal to believe in any of their evidence
    one could say that they were all shown to be LIARS.
    Yet amazingly Mr Lamba does not make any such
    statements, whether he was just following Kim Bolan or
    whether he just chose to give a [different] reading of the
    case one cannot be sure.

    Mr Lamba ends his review with a statement that it is a
    miracle that Kim Bolan has lived to tell her story.
    I'm always suspicious of 'death threats' to
    journalists, because when the story is going nowhere
    then it must be tempting to report a 'death threat' to
    give a dead story life.

    The attribution of the murder of the editor of
    Des Pardes to 'Khalistanis' is laughable. Maybe Mr Lamba
    could venture out from his American home and come to
    the UK and find how what the Sikhs of Southall say
    about the murder. The murder has variously be pinned
    on the Indian govt, personal rivalry and vandetta.
    Khalistanis real of imagined do not figure in the

    As it is the so-called investigative reporting of Kim
    Bolan just resulted in millions of dollars being
    wasted to bring two defendents to trial when clearly
    there was no evidence against them.


    Bikramjit Singh, London
  5. plamba

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    Jul 1, 2004
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    Those who conveniently label me as a GOI agent (or similar) and/or question my sense of balance with respect to injustices committed on both sides of the Sikh struggle are requested to read the following.

    The Sikh Times - News and Analysis - Accountability, Impunity, and Governance in India: A Conference Report

    The Sikh Times - News and Analysis - The New York Times on Operation Blue Star

    Puneet Singh Lamba
    Boston, MA
    The Sikh Times | News and Analysis from Around the World

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