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Families of Kanishka bombing victims 'get some relief'

June 18, 2010 01:35 IST

Families of the victims of Air India Kanishka bombing on Thursday said the report of a panel that went into the deadly incident gives them "some relief" as it addresses most of the concerns that they have raised.

They said the inquiry committee also concluded that it was a terrorist attack and not an accident, as it was contended by them.

"I think closure is a word that continues to haunt us," Lata Pada, who lost her teen-aged daughters and husband in the bombings, said.

"We can never have closure from a tragedy of this enormous devastation. What we can have is the satisfaction that we've come to a point where an inquiry has actually happened and an extensive report with recommendations has actually become a reality," she said.

Speaking to reporters in Ottawa on Thursday, family members said the inquiry into federal mismanagement of the investigation of the bombings answers many of their concerns and confirms it was not an accident.

"I think the report addresses most of the concerns that the families raised....It confirms what families suspected when asking for the inquiry: that it was not a sheer accident, that it was a compounding of mistake after mistake after mistake," said Bal Gupta, who lost his wife in the bombings.

The report and the government's acknowledgement of the tragedy has been a long time coming, added Gupta.

"We were not allowed to meet any government minister for almost 10 years," he said.

The commission of inquiry was created in May 2006. In his report released earlier Thursday, retired Supreme Court justice John Major blamed a "cascading series of errors" by government, the RCMP and the country's spy agency for failing to prevent the disaster.

Responding the report, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the government is "very committed" to implementing the recommendations.

"And if there is no good reason to implement a recommendation that would have to be carefully explained to the Canadian people and specifically the victims," he said.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the report a "damning indictment of many things that occurred before and after the tragedy" which the government is "determined to avoid in the future."

Harper said the government takes Major's report "very seriously" and will "respond positively" to his recommendations for an apology and compensation for families.

Harper said the inquiry was called "to bring closure to those who still grieve and to ensure that measures are taken to prevent such a tragedy in the future.

"We thank Commissioner Major for his work and once again extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends for the loved ones they lost," Harper said. "Our thoughts are with them on this day," he added.

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