Killing of wife by husband stuns Indo-Canadian community

August 4th, 2011 - 3:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Vancouver, Aug 4 (IANS) The daylight murder of a young Indo-Canadian woman by her husband in the city suburb of Surrey last week has shamed and shocked the community which is trying to come terms with the latest case of family violence.

Twenty-four-old Ravinder Bhangu was stabbed to death last Thursday by her 26-year-old husband Manmeet Singh while she was at work at the weekly English/Punjabi Sach Di Awaaz in Surrey on the outskirts of Vancouver.

The victim, who came to Canada from the Rajpura area of Punjab in 2009, had been staying with her after marital problems with her husband.

The murder comes four years after a spate killings of four wives by their Punjabi husbands within a couple of months stunned the huge Indo-Canadian community.

“Frankly, we are embarrassed as a community. This tragedy has revived our old fears. The worst part is that this happened in broad daylight in an office. We are in a shock,” community leader and retire school psychologist Balwant Sanghera told IANS.

Sanghera said since the multiple murders of wives by their husbands four years ago community leaders and activists have been offering counselling to people facing family problems.

“Quite a few organizations are helping couples cope with marital tensions. But this case shows that this is not helping. We are puzzled that our people have no problem solving skills.”

He was angry that despite all their counselling “people are still keeping their problems to themselves and the result is this tragedy.”

Raminder Dosanjh, community activist and wife of former Canadian health minister Ujjal Dosanjh, said the killing of this young woman by her husband is “a black mark on our whole Indo-Canadian community.”

Dosanjh, who formed the India Mahila Association in Canada in 1973, said the brutal murder is symptomatic of “a mind-set among men who think women are their property. They can do whatever they want with their women.”

She said, “Our volunteers always tell women: don’t hide your family problems and remain quiet. Please speak up and don’t risk your life for anything. If you don’t get along with your husband, go your own way.”

As the community comes to terms with the murder and adverse media publicity, the husband of the victim has been charged with first-degree murder.

Called the Southall of Canada, Surrey is home to the largest concentration of the Indian community in this country.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at

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