Friends, family and former coworkers of Harmandeep Kaur, the young woman who was killed at UBC Okanagan, gathered for a prayer service on Monday in her honor.
The ceremony was organized by UBCO student Kriti Sud. Sud said she didn’t know the victim personally, but felt she needed to do something for her.
“When I heard about the news, I felt like UBC wasn’t doing enough. They later on organized the vigil on Friday, which was great on their part, but I felt I should do something to bring our cultural community together,” said Sud.
Kaur was brutally assaulted and killed while working as a security guard at UBC Okanagan on Feb 26.
“Just horror, total shock. I think the community is still in shock after what happened,” said Okanagan Sikh Temple president Amarjit Lalli.
“There are little bits of stories coming out as to how violent the act was, and it is just terrible.”
Family of UBCO security guard ‘devastated’ by her death
Kaur’s parents, who flew in from India, were brought to tears as they entered the service.
“The family is really moved by all the support that they are receiving from the community. They just arrived a couple a days after her death to attend the funeral. They are quite thankful for all the support that they have received from the community,” said Lalli.
Kaur was 24 years old and had just celebrated starting a new life in Canada. She had just received her permanent residency status and planned to further her studies in order to become a paramedic.
“When students come from abroad to study here there is always this trust that Canada is a safe place. But with what has happened here, some of that trust has been eroded and we will have to do everything in our power to hopefully regain the confidence within the student community,” said Lalli.
“The solution has to start with the universities and then employers and figuring out ways to make sure that students who are coming in from abroad aren’t going to be taken advantage of. Canada is desperate right now — there is such a shortage of labour that sometimes shortcuts are taken.
“We have to make sure that checks and balances are in place to make sure everyone is protected.”
RCMP have said a suspect who was employed at the university was arrested under the Mental Health Act and could face a murder charge. Lalli added that the family is now focused on getting justice for their daughter.
“The family is really concerned; they really want justice for their daughter. The person who committed the crime is being held under the Mental Health Act and what the family is concerned about is that Act might be used as a shield against getting justice for Harmandeep,” he said.
Vigil held at UBC Okanagan for security guard
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