Air India bomb maker's release hard to reconcile in city where he lived

VANCOUVER -- Residents of a small British Columbia city say they are thinking of the families of 331 people who died in the Air India bombings after the only man convicted for his role in the crime was released from prison.

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Inderjit Singh Reyat was granted statutory release Monday after serving most of his nine-year sentence for perjury at the trial of two other men charged in Canada's worst mass murder.

Reyat was convicted in 1991 of two counts of manslaughter in the 1985 deaths of two baggage handlers when a bomb went off at Tokyo's Narita airport on the same day that another suitcase bomb exploded on the Air India flight over the Atlantic Ocean.

The Crown maintained Reyat built the bombs that were housed in suitcases meant to go off mid-air on two state-owned Air India planes as revenge against the Indian government.

Tom Paterson of Duncan, B.C., remembers seeing Reyat and his two young sons at garage sales but reeled as details of the man's involvement in the tragedy emerged in court.

Other residents in the Vancouver Island community say they're finding it hard to reconcile that someone who played a role in a deadly terrorist act 30 years ago can go back to his family but the relatives of the dead are left to grieve their loss forever.



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