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November 19, 1999
Tara Singh Hayer Assault Case Reactivated
Sukhdev (Dave) Hayer received some good news this week. Saying they have received strong tips, the Royal Candian Mounted Police reopened the investigation into the 1988 shooting of his father, publisher Tara Singh Hayer.
Hayer, who had to use a wheelchair following the first attempt on his life, continued writing against Khalistanis and fundamentalists and was killed last year in his garage after he returned from the offices of his publication, The Indo-Canadian Times. He was 62, and was once a supporter of the Khalistan movement.
Though the police have a serious suspect in his murder, no arrests have been made.
"Everything goes back to 1988," says Dave Hayer. "If the silence is broken, and if people in our community dare to speak, not only we will know who exactly worked against my father but also who led to the explosion of the Air-India plane in 1985." More than 300 people died in the explosion.
While the RCMP continues to probe Hayer's killing, it is not commenting if same individuals are involved in both cases.
"People are afraid to speak because they feel the terrorists will attack them not only here but also heir families and relatives in India," says Dave Hayer.
"We would like to see those people involved in the 1988 conspiracy charged and brought to justice,'' Hayer says.
"We would also like to see charges laid in the 1985 Air-India bombing,'' he said. "I think you will find there is a lot of overlap in these cases. No group, organization or individual should get away with killing so many people.''
Last July, the Surrey RCMP identified an Edmonton member of the separatist International Sikh Youth Federation as a suspect in the killing.
No charges have been laid against the man, a truck driver who denied he had anything to do with the killing but who admitted he was close to many federation leaders in the Vancouver area.
The night Hayer was murdered, the suspect said he was shovelling snow in Edmonton, following a big snowstorm. He also said he had no regret that Hayer was dead.
The suspect, associated with former Sikh high priest Bhai Ranjit Singh, was angered by many editorials Hayer wrote against the priest.
Ranjit Singh had ex-communicated Hayer for the latter's support to liberal Sikhs in Canada.
A young man, Harkirat Singh Bagga, was convicted of attempted murder in the 1988 shooting after being captured near the scene.
Bagga initially named several prominent members of the federation and the radical Babbar Khalsa as having helped him in the plot, but recanted in court and took the blame alone.
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