Hundreds show up for slain woman’s vigil

Demands for an end to domestic violence at Wednesday night event

Ravinder Bhangu was killed last Thursday in Newton.

About 250 people attended a vigil this week for a woman brutally slain in a newspaper office in Newton.

Ravinder Bhangu, 24, was repeatedly stabbed last Thursday while working at Sach Di Awaaz Newspaper office at 128 Street and 82 Avenue.

Her husband, 26-year-old Manmeet Singh has been charged with first-degree murder.

Hundreds showed up for a vigil next to the Vedic Hindu Cultural Society at 8321 140 St. Wednesday night to remember Bhangu. Many also took the opportunity to call for an end to domestic violence in the community.

Pinda Sidhu is a member of the dance studio where Bhangu volunteered. He remembers her as an extremely kind and quiet individual, who didn’t bring her home life to work.

Three months ago, his wife asked Bhangu how things were going at home and the woman broke into tears.

“She just started crying, she didn’t want to talk that much,” Sidhu recalls. “She’s still crying, and saying ‘I’m okay’. “

Sidhu said the crowd was upset with continued domestic violence in the community.

“A lot happens in Surrey,” Sidhu said, adding the public wants it to stop.

Coun. Barinder Rasode was also at the event and said she heard the same message from the public.

“It was very high-level,” Rasode said. “The message was that all of us who are elected have not done enough and I agree.”

She noted a key plank in Surrey’s Crime Reduction Strategy is an end to domestic violence and the city continues two work toward that goal.

Rasode said the city is working with social service agencies and helping them lobby for the funding they need.

She also heard at the vigil that members of the community play a huge role. When domestic violence seems evident, it’s up to friends and family to say it’s not okay.

“We keep talking and nothing is changing,” Rasode said.

She’s particularly riled by a local ethnic radio station which went to air after the killing saying women have too many rights in this country and that somehow Bhangu had it coming.

“I received so many phone calls, the City of Surrey received so many phone calls,” Rasode said that the public was furious about that kind of coverage.

Rasode has asked the Crime Reduction Strategy manager to collect resources for people in need and place them prominently on the city’s website.

Here are a few of the agencies to contact if you, a friend or loved one is experiencing domestic violence:

• Domestic Violence Help Line VictimLINK BC (free and confidential) 1-800-563-0808

• Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868

• Surrey Women’s Centre 604-583-1295

• Surrey RCMP Victim Service Unit 604-599-7600

• South Fraser Women’s Services 604-536-9611

• Surrey and White Rock Resource List at http://www.surrey.ca/files/Surrey_and_White_Rock_Resource_LIST_June_2011.pdf