Cal­gary cou­ple stranded in In­dia by pan­demic killed: fam­ily

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - LAUREN KRUGEL

A re­tired Cal­gary cou­ple stranded in In­dia by the COVID -19 pan­demic were killed and robbed be­fore they could get on a flight back to Canada.

“It’s a tragic loss that we will never be able to re­fill with any­thing else,” their son-in-law, Kam Rathore, said Wed­nes­day.

He said Kir­pal Min­has, 67, and his wife Davin­der, 65, trav­elled to the Pun­jab re­gion of north­ern In­dia in Novem­ber to check on prop­er­ties they owned there.

It was the first trip back for the per­ma­nent res­i­dents, who used to run a trans­porta­tion com­pany, since they came to Canada in late 2016.

Rathore said his in-laws were sched­uled to fly home to Cal­gary in early April, but that flight was can­celled as the pan­demic ground al­most all global air travel to a halt.

He said fam­ily tried reg­is­ter­ing them on­line for a Cana­dian gov­ern­ment repa­tri­a­tion flight, but couldn’t be­cause they were not cit­i­zens.

Loved ones booked them on an­other flight ar­ranged through a Van­cou­ver vol­un­teer group in late April, but that, too, was can­celled.

“At that time, there was no fear for their life,” said Rathore, who added that fam­ily were hop­ing to ar­range an­other flight soon.

The cou­ple’s two sons re­side in the U.S. — one in Austin, Texas, and the other in New York — and their two daugh­ters live in north­east Cal­gary. The cou­ple lived with one of them.

The chil­dren were in fre­quent con­tact with their par­ents while they were over­seas.

“Since they landed in mid-novem­ber, there was a habit of check­ing on them for even two min­utes or five min­utes daily, in the morning and in the evening,” said Rathore.

He said his wife be­came con­cerned when her par­ents didn’t re­turn her calls Fri­day. She asked neigh­bours in In­dia to check in on the pair. Rel­a­tives got word Satur­day morning of their deaths.

Rathore said he’s been told po­lice have ar­rested a ten­ant, who was tak­ing care of one of his par­ents’ prop­er­ties, and two other men, but charges have not been laid.

He said jew­elry, cash, bank cards and phones were taken. Po­lice told him the sus­pects had been watch­ing his par­ents’ rou­tines for a while.

Rathore said he was told three men over­pow­ered his fa­ther-in­law in his bed­room be­tween 7:30 and 8:30 on Fri­day night and stabbed him mul­ti­ple times.

He said he un­der­stands his mother-in-law was out for a walk, but the as­sailants were hid­ing in the home when she re­turned 15 to 20 min­utes later. She was at­tacked and stran­gled, Rathore said.

Ex­tended fam­ily in In­dia ar­ranged for the cou­ple to be cre­mated in the Sikh tra­di­tion on Tues­day. Their chil­dren in North Amer­ica were dev­as­tated to not be able to pay their fi­nal re­spects due to on­go­ing travel re­stric­tions, he said

Un­der the Cana­dian Con­sular Ser­vices Char­ter, only Cana­dian cit­i­zens are el­i­gi­ble for con­sular as­sis­tance.

“We of­fer our sin­cere con­do­lences to the fam­ily and loved ones of two Cana­dian per­ma­nent res­i­dents who died in In­dia,” Global Af­fairs spokes­woman An­gela Savard said in a state­ment.

The Cana­dian Press

KA­MAL RATHORE

Davin­der and Kir­pal Min­has were Cana­di­ans killed in what is be­lieved to have been a rob­bery in the city of Phag­wara in In­dia.

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