Air India Kanishka Bombing: Canada frees Inderjit Singh Reyat, only convict in 1985 terror strike

Ottawa: The only person convicted in the 1985 Air India — Kanishka — bombings that killed 331 people is now free, Canada's parole board has said.

Inderjit Singh Reyat had been ordered to live at a halfway house following his release from prison one year ago, after serving two decades behind bars.

That condition has now been lifted and Reyat may return to a normal life, including "living in a private residence," parole board spokesman Patrick Storey told AFP in an email.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The Sikh immigrant from India was convicted of making bombs that were stuffed into luggage and planted on two planesleaving Vancouver, and of lying in court to cover for his co-accused.

One bomb tore apart Air India Flight 182 — Kanishka — as it neared the coast of Ireland, killing all 329 people aboard, including entire families.

The second exploded at Japan's Narita airport, killing two baggage handlers as they transferred cargo to another Air India plane.

The blasts followed a crackdown on Sikhs militants, and those behind it were allegedly seeking revenge for the Golden Temple operation.

Reyat was working as a mechanic in westernmost Canada and purchased the dynamite, batteries and detonators used to construct the bombs.

Two alleged co-conspirators were acquitted due to a lack of evidence and, according to prosecutors, because of Reyat's perjury.

Storey said Reyat's parole officer has assessed those with whom he will live "to ensure they will not have a negative influence on him."

Conditions of his release from prison also still apply, including having no contact with the victims' families nor with extremists.

Reyat must also shun all political activities and take counseling for violent tendencies, a lack of empathy and exaggerated beliefs.

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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2017 18:19:52 IST