JIWA, Salim

Author Tags: Disaster, Law

A reporter with The Province, Salim Jiwa investigated extremist minorities within B.C.'s Sikh community to write The Death of Air India Flight 182, a 1986 study that examines India's political tensions and the terrorist bombing that ripped open a jumbo jet over the Irish Sea, murdering 329 people in 1985.

For Margin of Terror: A Reporter’s Twenty-Year Odyssey Covering the Tragedies of the Air India Bombing (Key Porter $24.95), co-written with screenwriter Donald J. Hauka, Salim Jiwa updated his 1985 book about the two Air India bombings with new information about the 20-year Air India investigation and the 19-month trial that resulted in a verdict of not guilty for the accused in 2005. In late April of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced a new public probe into the Air India bombings.


The Death of Air India Flight 182 (1986)
Margin of Terror: A Reporter’s Twenty-Year Odyssey Covering the Tragedies of the Air India Bombing (Key Porter, 2006). With Donald J. Hauka. 1-55263-772-7

[BCBW 2006] "Disaster" "Law" "Air India"

Margin of Error
Press Release (2006)

Margin of Terror: A Reporter’s Twenty-Year Odyssey Covering the Tragedy of the Air India Bombing, chronicles Salim Jiwa’s and Donald J. Hauka’s relentless pursuit of Canada’s worst terrorist tragedy. This insider’s account of the origins of Sikh militancy and the conspiracy that resulted in the twin bombings is compulsively readable. Jiwa, the only reporter on a first-name basis with the terrorists, the police and the victims’ families, sheds new light on a dark chapter in Canadian history.

Three hundred and twenty-nine innocent people were killed when a bomb exploded on Air India Flight 182 more than twenty years ago. On the same day, another bomb exploded at Tokyo’s airport, killing two baggage handlers. The victims’ families, friends and loved ones were promised justice. After the longest and costliest criminal investigation and trial in Canadian history, they are still waiting.

In a riveting “insider’s” account, investigative reporter Jiwa – the first and only reporter on the Air India story continuously from the very beginning – explores the complex underworld of the accused terrorists from their obscure beginnings in Vancouver all the way through the criminal investigations to the trial that ended in a verdict that shocked the country: not guilty.

Jiwa explains in riveting eyewitness detail how the plot originated and unfolded, and who was responsible for both masterminding and carrying out the bombings. Some of the new evidence uncovered includes:

- Air India probe suffered when bug failed: a faulty listening device in the back of a police car failed to record a potentially damning conversation between Inderjit Singh Reyat and Talwinder Singh Parmar, which resulted in the RCMP not being able to press conspiracy charges.

- U.S. law enforcement office owned two guns found in hands of B.C. terrorists: gun found at the home of bomber Reyat and another used to shoot newspaper editor Tara Singh Hayer tracked to a weapons collection owned by California-based Sikh deputy sheriff.

- False assumptions blinded Canada’s spy agency to unfolding Air India plot: Sikh extremists were not even at the top of CSIS priority list of terrorists to watch even as Sikh militancy in Canada rocketed into a major problem.

Balanced and fair-minded, Margin of Terror never fails to indict what were inexcusable missteps and mistakes on the part of law enforcement and the prosecution. It is a compulsively readable portrait of the innocent victims and of the heartbroken families and friends for whom dreams of justice and closure remain bitterly unfulfilled.

Salim Jiwa is an award-winning senior investigative journalist with The Province newspaper in Vancouver. The first reporter to introduce the world to Talwinder Singh Parmar – the primary suspect in the Air India Case – Jiwa is an authority on terrorism, appears regularly on television and radio and is a regular consultant on terrorism issues for ABC News in New York. Please visit his Web site: www.flight182.com.

Donald J. Hauka is a journalist, screenwriter and playwright. For twenty years he has been a political reporter and colleague of Jiwa in Vancouver.