Ripudaman Singh Malik wasn't worried about safety prior to fatal shooting, family says
There were no indications Ripudaman Singh Malik was concerned for his personal safety leading up to his death on Thursday, according to his grieving family.
Jaspreet Malik, the eldest of the deceased's five children, spoke to reporters outside a family home in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, and said they had no reason to believe their 75-year-old father was in danger before he was gunned down in broad daylight.
"Dad never said anything to us about anybody threatening him or anything like that," he said, describing the sudden loss of their father as a total shock.
"You can't even imagine something like that happening in your life – a family member getting shot, let alone your dad getting shot."
Ripudaman Singh Malik, one of the two men acquitted in the 1985 Air India bombings, was killed while arriving at one of his businesses on 128 Street. Homicide investigators said a white Honda CRV pulled up more than two hours earlier, and that the occupants waited for Malik at the building.
The Air India trial left a cloud of suspicion and gossip around Malik, and his expressed support for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi brought fresh controversy in recent years, but his family does not believe he was targeted because of his past or politics.
Jaspreet Malik said he can't fathom his father's 2005 acquittal could have led to Thursday's shooting. The family has always maintained he was falsely accused.
"This must have some other cause or motive," he said. "I don't know what that would be, I just can't see the two things being related. I can't imagine hating someone for 17 years. I just can't imagine."
The Air India Victims’ Families Association said some members remained suspicious of Ripudaman Singh Malik up until his death, pointing to flaws in the investigation into the bombings, and issues at trial.
Only one man – bomb-maker Inderjit Singh Reyat – was convicted in connection with the attack. He was later found guilty of perjury as well, for repeatedly lying on the stand during the trial of Malik and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri.
To many in the community, the deceased will be remembered as founder of the Khalsa School – the largest private school in British Columbia – and the Khalsa Credit Union. That is his true legacy, according to his family, not the fact that he faced trial in the deadliest mass murder in Canadian history.
While Jaspreet Malik was highly critical of the RCMP's investigation into the bombings, he stressed that he has "absolute faith" in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team’s ability to bring his father's killer to justice.
"The people doing this investigation, I have full faith they're properly trained, they know what they're doing. They'll find whoever did this," he said, adding that anyone with information on the shooting has a moral obligation to come forward.
"Do the right thing," he said. "I feel like I'm sounding like a mom talking to a toddler, because people should know right from wrong. If you saw something, you know something, you heard something, you have a duty to share that with police."
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