NEW DELHI: Surrey-based prominent Sikh businessman
Ripudaman Singh Malik
, who was a suspect in the Air India Kanishka bombing of 1985 and was acquitted by a Canadian court in 2005, was shot dead on Thursday when he reached outside his office at around 9am local time. He was about to come out of his car when bullets were pumped into him in the parking space outside the warehouse of his business brand Papillon, reports I P Singh.
Malik was living in Vancouver and would come to his office in Surrey in the morning every day. According to sources who visited the spot just after the shooting, the gunman’s face was covered completely and he had guns in both hands. Later, a burning car was also spotted after some time at some distance from the scene of the crime.
Malik visited India after a gap of 25 years in November-December 2019 after the government of India scrapped the blacklist of Sikhs, barring two names (which have remained undisclosed). In January this year, he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing gratitude for the steps he had taken for Sikhs. At the same time, he also issued an appeal to the Sikh community that it was not right to “unfairly” criticise the PM given his many positive gestures.
He had also visited India only a few weeks back in May-June. Former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Manjit Singh GK said that he returned on June 6-7 last after staying here for over a fortnight. “He had always worked for the community and his latest and biggest concern was to make Birs of Guru Granth Sahib available to the Sikhs living abroad,” he GK said.
After his visit in 2019, his brother Jasjit Singh Malik had told TOI that it was his long-cherished desire, actually his last wish, to visit Darbar Sahib Amritsar.
“He has shared his desire with many, including the Indian Sikh leaders visiting Canada, and he would seek their help to get an Indian visa saying that he once wanted to visit Darbar Sahib before his death. However, after the blacklist was scrapped, he applied for a visa,” said Jasjit Singh
, who is running his business of exporting garments in Delhi.
“He visited Darbar Sahib three times during this visit as he wanted to satiate his strongest desire and we also visited other gurdwaras apart from visiting a few relatives,” he said.
He said Malik could not visit India after 1984 till their father’s death in January 1994. “Later he was denied a visa even though he was acquitted in the Air India bombing case. It is now after 25 years that he visited the country,” he had said.
After allegations of his financing those who hatched the conspiracy to bomb the Air India flight in which 331 persons were killed, he remained in jail for over four years from 2000 to 2004 before his acquittal.
Former Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee president Paramjit Singh Sarna expressed shock and sadness at Malik’s killing. “The loss is irreparable. Sardar Malik ran a number of Khalsa schools and was at the forefront of humanitarian efforts in Canada,” he said.