They have been waiting a very long time to have their say. And amidst a sea of red eyes, numerous handkerchiefs and emotional, shaky voices, they finally got it on Monday. The surviving family members of the Air India bombing in 1985 got their chance to speak their piece in Ottawa, as the official inquiry into the worst terror attack in Canadian history got under way.
Grief and anger were both in evidence, as more than twenty years of pain emerged before former Supreme Court judge and inquiry chair John Major.
He faces a daunting task - trying to find out whether shortcomings by Canadian officials resulted in the security breach that allowed bombs to be placed on board the plane carrying 329 people in June 1985.
Bal Gupta lost his wife in the attack and quickly made it clear the emotional damage inflicted by the terrorists has yet to fade.
"My heart sinks when I remember those parents who lost all their children," he begins, struggling to keep his composure.
"They have been forced or will soon be forced to spend their twilight years without the shining lights of their lives. A special tribute to those kids. They are no longer kids who have grown without their mother, father, or both parents."
If Gupta's anger hasn't disappeared, neither has his demand for justice.
"The perpetrators of this heinous crime, conceived and executed in Canada, are still roaming loose, free to commit more terrorist acts," he complains, frequently dabbing his eyes with a tissue as long suppressed tears re-emerge.
"We have cried enough since 1985," he avers. "Tears and sympathy are just not enough."
"My two daughters were found and not Vishnu," cries Lata Pada (top left), as she thinks about her husband and the young girls she lost in the bombing. "I waited by the seaside for days, hoping, hoping that he would walk back."
Twenty-nine families were completely wiped out in the bombing, while 32 had one spouse left alone. Eight couples lost all their...
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