Jagmeet Singh now accepts inquiry’s conclusion that Parmar was behind Air Bombing Attack

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh talks to reporters after kicking of his first cross-country tour at a rally in Ottawa, Sunday October15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

After having expressed some doubts, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said today he accepts the Air India inquiry’s conclusion that Talwinder Singh Parmar was the mastermind behind the deadly mid-air bombing that killed hundreds of Canadians  and he thinks it’s inappropriate for some Sikhs to glorify Parmar by displaying his photo.

A day after a 2015 appearance by Singh at a Khalistan “sovereignty” rally ignited criticism, the NDP leader said the inquiry’s findings are not in doubt and he accepts that Sikh extremists were behind the attack.

In an interview with CBC’s Terry Milewski last October, Singh refused to denounce extremists within Canada’s Sikh community who glorify Parmar’s memory.

The 18-month long Air India inquiry, led by former Supreme Court justice John Major, pointed to Parmar as the chief terrorist behind the bombing.

“There was an inquiry that was conducted into this horrible terrorist act. The inquiry identified specifically Talwinder Singh Parmar, and I accept the findings of the investigation, of the inquiry. I accept them and I condemn all those responsible,” he said in an interview with the CBC’s David Cochrane Thursday.

A separate inquiry, carried out by former Ontario NDP premier and Liberal MP Bob Rae, also fingered Parmar as the architect of the 1985 bombing that left 329 people dead — 268 of them Canadians.

In an interview with CBC’s Terry Milewski last October, Singh refused to denounce extremists within Canada’s Sikh community who glorify Parmar’s memory.

When Milewski asked him specifically about Parmar, Singh said this: “I don’t know who’s responsible [for the bombing] but I think we need to find out who’s responsible, we need to make sure that the investigation results in a conviction of someone who is actually responsible.”

When asked if he thought it was appropriate for some gurdwaras — Sikh houses of worship — to display pictures of Parmar, Singh said he did not.

He said, “Personally, I think the displaying of a picture of Mr. Parmar is something that re-traumatizes and hurts and injures people that are suffering so much in terms of that loss in their lives.”

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, so I don’t think it should be done. It doesn’t help us move forward with peace and reconciliation.”

Ujjal Dosanjh, a former B.C. NDP premier and federal Liberal cabinet minister, said Singh’s denouncement of Parmar is “better late than never.”

“I think he’s done the right thing. I just wish he had done so from the beginning,” he said in an interview with CBC News.

But Dosanjh said he’s concerned about Singh’s pledge to continue attending events that might involve the celebration of extremist figures.

“He has obviously grown up in the grievance politics of post-1984. He didn’t grow up in India. I did, I know the realities on the ground, I know that both Bhindranwale and the government were all to blame for what happened,” he said.

“He ought to be a quick study on these issues, and he has proved not to be, and that’s a worrying sign.”