NATIONAL

Kanishka verdict: ``It is a miserable feeling''

MUMBAI, MARCH 17. Fresh wounds have opened up for 73-year-old Mukta Bhat who termed "unfair" a Canadian court's acquittal of the two main accused in the 1985 bombing of the Air India Flight 182 that killed her son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

"It is a miserable feeling that comes especially when one has seen such a tragic death and heard a verdict that does little to soothe those wounds inflicted 20 years ago," said Ms. Bhat, whose 27-year-old son Parag, his air-hostess wife Chand and six-month-old son, Siddharth, were killed in the bombing. "The wounds had begun healing but now they are bruised afresh," she told PTI reacting to the verdict. Speaking philosophically, she said: "Actually it matters little whether the accused live or die because what we cherished died 20 years ago and it is too long a period to really worry about the perpetrators of the crime." "Though we have got over the initial hatred, a feeling of anger overpowers [me] when I pause to think how could they not have enough evidence even after 23 months of trial." "I had a lot of hopes pinned on the Canadian judicial system. I had always believed that justice would be delivered. In fact during the trial, when I was present, I was confident that the guilty would be brought to book. But I really don't know what influenced the course of justice...," she said.

She said, "we lost everything. It [the crash] altered our life forever. My husband never ever overcame the tragedy and slipped into depression. The grief claimed him and he passed away 10 years later." Has she kept in touch with the families of other victims? "We did speak to each other initially. But later we were so caught up with our pain that all these things appear to have little significance." — PTI

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