Dublin/London: Ministers from India,
Canada and Ireland on Wednesday led mourners to observe a minute`s
silence at an Irish memorial garden to remember the 329 people
who were killed when a terrorist bomb destroyed an Air India
trans Atlantic jet 25 years ago.
Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs Salman
Khurshid, Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin and the
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney joined the
relatives of the dead at the annual service held at the remote
Sheep`s Head peninsula on Ireland`s west Cork coast over which
the plane exploded, the Irish Times reported.
The ill-fated Montreal-New Delhi Air India Kanishka
flight via Toronto and London exploded mid-air 45 minutes
before it was to land at London`s Heathrow Airport, killing
all 329 people on board, most of whom were Canadians of Indian
"The tragedy has forged an unbreakable bond between
the people of three continents," the Irish Foreign Minister
Martin said as the gathering fell into silence at 8.13 am, the
exact moment when a bomb hidden in the luggage hold of the
plane exploded and the Air India flight 182 disappeared from
The bombing attack was blamed on Sikh militants
avenging Operation Blue Star of 1984.
Terming the bombing as "evil and cowardly", the Irish
minister said that the memorial site at Ahakista was a sacred
place that represented a "rejection of the hatred and violence
The memorial includes a sun dial with its shadow
designs to touch a precise spot every June 23 at 8.13 am, the
time the plane disappeared forever.
"Time flies, suns rise, shadows fall, let it pass by,
love reigns forever overall," reads the inscription on the
Only 131 bodies could be recovered, a third of them
under the age of 17.
"Each year, Ireland and the community here in Ahakista
gladly open their arms to welcome the families and friends of
the victims after their long journey to this hallowed ground,
close to where so many perished," he said.
"We are honoured by your friendship and offer whatever
comfort and solace we can in your time of great sorrow. You
will always be welcome here," said Martin.
The alleged bomb maker was convicted of manslaughter
in 1991 and received a 10-year sentence but two others were
acquitted in 2005 due to lack of evidence.
This year`s memorial came in the backdrop of a
Canadian probe led by former Chief Justice John Major, which
rapped the Canadian police and the intelligence for failing to
check the terrorist strike.
Justice Major also said the families of victims should
be adequately compensated.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to
apologise to the families of the victims at a ceremony in