"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Radical Desi launches petition for fresh inquiry into the Air India bombings on Mewa Singh’s martyrdom day Featured


An online magazine that covers alternative politics wants another probe into the role of Indian agencies behind the worst incident of aviation terrorism before 9/11.

On Thursday, January 11, Radical Desi cofounder Gurpreet Singh launched a signature campaign on a petition from the spot where Surrey-Delta Gurdwara President Hardeep Singh Nijjar was killed in June, 2023.

According to Singh, the events leading up to Nijjar's assassination demand a fresh and focused investigation into the role of Indian spies in the Air Indian episode.  

It is pertinent to mention Mewa Singh was executed on January 11, 1915 for murdering controversial immigration inspector William Hopkinson.

Hopkinson was instrumental behind the killings of two community leaders, Bhaag Singh and Badan Singh, at the Vancouver gurdwara in September, 1914. Bhaag Singh led a campaign against racism and colonialism, and was targeted by the agents of Hopkinson.

Since the history of those killings has been repeated by the Indian state, Singh said that it was appropriate to launch the petition on Mewa Singh’s martyrdom day.  

331 people died in two bombings on June 23, 1985. This included a mid-air blast of Air India Flight 182 that left all 329 people aboard dead. While the incidents were blamed on Sikh separatists seeking revenge from the Indian government, community activists continue to believe that this was the handiwork of the Indian intelligence to discredit the movement for a Sikh homeland of Khalistan. They have pointed to a flawed investigation, destruction of surveillance tapes, and facts such as last minute cancellation of travel plans by some people known to be close to the Indian consulate and the proximity of some of the suspects to Indian officials.

Two of the persons charged were acquitted, while Inderjit Singh Reyat was the only person to be convicted for manslaughter.

Among the acquitted was Sikh millionaire Ripudaman Singh Malik who was not only given visa to visit India in 2019, he was allowed to meet the head of the Indian spy agency R&AW. Malik was shot to death under mysterious circumstances in July 2022. A section of the Indian media speculated that he was assassinated by the supporters of Khalistan.

Nijjar was portrayed as a potential suspect, raising apprehensions of retaliation within the community. He has been facing threats to his life since then, and he has been on the radar of the Indian government that was seeking his extradition. Also, the Indian government was outraged over his support for a referendum on Khalistan and for glorification of the late Talwinder Singh Parmar, a militant leader who is widely accused as a mastermind behind Air India. Notably, while Parmar was never convicted for the crime, he was killed by the Indian police in cold blood in 1992, giving credence to the conspiracy theories. Many believe that his killing was a part of the cover up.  

In June, 2023, Nijjar was murdered near the gurdwara parking lot, despite the fact that he was repeatedly cautioned by Canadian authorities about the danger to his life. The Canadian Prime Minister acknowledged in the House of Commons that the Indian government could be behind the murder. Later, US authorities unearthed a plot to kill Nijjar’s colleague Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, and indicted Nikhil Gupta, who hired an undercover police officer for the job on behalf of an unidentified Indian government official.

The series of events has made the demand for another Air India inquiry even more relevant than before. Previous investigations mainly looked into the hand of Sikh separatists into the bombings and have remained unresolved.

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Gurpreet Singh

Cofounder and Director of Radical Desi


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