Canadian group lobbies for overseas monument dedicated to Air India bombing victims

Published: November 9, 2012

Harmit Jhatoo attends the 27th annual memorial for the more than 300 victims of the Air India bombing at the Air India Memorial in Stanley Park’s Ceperley Playground, Vancouver, June 23, 2012. Gerry Kahrmann/PNG

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

The Vancouver-based Indian Overseas Congress is pleading with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help overseas families of the Air-India Kanishka Terror Attack get the closure they deserve.

According to IOC president Vikram Bajwa, members of the 18 India-based families have been in contact with the organization asking for its help.

“They were hoping that (Harper) would announce (a memorial) when he was there,” said Bajwa, referring to the Canadian PM’s recent visit to India.

The victims are turning to Harper because “it’s a Canadian tragedy,” said Bajwa. “That’s the reason they didn’t want to go after the Prime Minister of India.”

Memorials already exist in Toronto and Vancouver to commemorate the more than 300 lives lost in the worst terror attack in Canadian history. But the families believe one should be built in New Delhi, because without their loved ones’ bodies or ashes they were unable to have a proper burial.

“That’s very important for them … we’ve seen so many foreigners who come to Canada and when they are at their last leg of life or they are dying they would rather go to their own country because of religious (reasons),” said Bajwa.

According to Sikh manuscripts, ashes should be taken to Kiratpur Gurdwaras in India.

“Anybody who dies anywhere in the world, if his ashes are immersed in that Kiratpur — in that river that’s the complete cycle of Sikhism,” said Bajwa.

Similar beliefs exist for Hindus as well.

“If (their) ashes are immersed in river Ganges, their cycle of religion is complete,” said Bajwa. “For these two symbolic reasons we personally think they should have some kind of memorial there.”




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