Canadians Remember Victims of 1985 Air India Bombing, NGO Urges Inclusion of Incident in School Curriculum
Photo of the Air India 182 memorial in Toronto, Canada. (Wikimedia.commons.org photo)
ONTARIO, Canada – On June 23, Canadians remembered the victims of the largest terrorism incident in Canadian history. A bomb exploded on Air India Flight 182 from Canada off the coast of Ireland on June 23, 1985, killing 329 people. This included over 280 Canadian citizens including 29 entire families and 86 children under the age of 12.
The families hold services every year not only to remember their loved ones lost, but also to remind Canadians that they must remain vigilant against the threat and harms of terrorism.
June 23 has also been designated by the Canadian government as the National Day of Remembrance to all Victims of Terrorism.
There is a widespread feeling among Canadians, particularly South Asian Canadians, that the Canadian government’s action against this terrorism could have been different if the victims were white Canadians.
A prominent Canadian Hindu organization, The Hindu Forum Canada, has urged the premier of Ontario to direct district school boards across Ontario to include a chapter on the Air India bombing in curriculum across schools in Ontario so that the generations of Canadians to come will remember what happened, how it happened and that the Air India bombing is “not forgotten, not foreign, but ours.”
“Situating the Air India tragedy and its aftermath within local, national and transnational contexts, it is imperative to raise widespread awareness of the tragedy and its continuing impact on our shared present and future. There is a need to educate the wider public, especially the students of Ontario about the Air India tragedy and its aftermath,” the forum said.
The wife and daughter of a victim expressed grief on the occasion. “My father was on a flight that was 36 years ago. We come here every year and gather here as a family and do a memorial service. Because of COVID-19, we couldn’t do the service last year but we have come today.”