Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only person convicted in the 1985 Air India-Kanishka bombing that killed 331 people on board, has been released by the Canadian authorities.
Reyat, who had served two decades in prison, was asked to stay in a halfway house after walking out of prison one year ago.
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.
Reyat was convicted of making bombs that were stuffed into luggage bags and planted on 2 planes leaving Vancouver, and of perjury (lying in court) to cover up for his co-accused Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri.
Two others, allegedly co-conspirators, were acquitted due to lack of evidence and, if the prosecutors are to be believed, due to Reyat’s perjury.
On June 23, 1985, a bomb exploded aboard Emperor Kanishka or Air India Flight 182, a Boeing 747 aircraft flying on the Montreal-London route, with New Delhi as the final destination. The bomb, placed in a suitcase and checked into cargo during a stopover in Vancouver, exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in Irish airspace at an altitude of 31,000 feet, killing all 329 on board — 268 Canadian citizens (many of them of Indian origin), 27 Britons and 24 Indians.
The second bomb went off at Japan’s Narita airport, killing 2 baggage handlers as they were transferring cargo to another Air India plane.
Following the blast, Indian authorities launched a crackwdown on Sikh militants. The terrorists were widely believed to avenge the Operation Bluestar at Golden temple.