Overflowing support for Surrey family as five loved ones killed in crash laid to rest

Published: May 3, 2013

Pawandeep Arjot

Mourners stand together following the funeral of Pawandeep Arjot, her two children, Annish Sachdeva, 5, and Jessica Sachdeva, 3, her sister-in-law Neelam Dhingra, and her mother-in-law Vidya Sachdevam in Delta, B.C. on Friday, May 3, 2013. Justin Tang/CP

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Surrey’s South Asian community is doing everything it can to support the last remaining members of the Sachdeva family.

Hundreds of community members flooded into Delta’s Riverside Funeral Home and Crematorium Friday as local restaurateur Jolly Sachdeva laid to rest five of his family members.

His wife, Reena Arjot, son Aanish, 5, daughter Jessica, 3, mother, Vidya Wanti Sachdeva, and sister, Neelam Rani Dhingra, died in a tragic crash at 176 Street and 32 Avenue on their way home from a religious ceremony in South Surrey on April 28.

“Everybody is trying to support the family,” Shangara Prihar said as he left the funeral home Friday. “It’s a real tragedy.”

Throughout the hour-long Punjabi service, friends, family and community members streamed into the hall, heads covered and many clutching tissues, before making their way to the centre of the room to say their last goodbyes to the five caskets resting between family photos and pink and blue balloons.

Family members at the front of the room clung together as the ceremony came to a close, sobs and sniffles echoing through the room.

“The whole family is gone,” said Gurcharan Singh Bagri, who hailed from the same Indian village as the family. “The children… they have not seen the whole world.
“Everybody has to pay some attention — it’s a great loss.”

Surrey family killed

Pawandeep Arjot, her two children, Annish Sachdeva, 5, and Jessica Sachdeva, 3, her sister-in-law Neelam Dhingra, and her mother-in-law Vidya Sachdevam were killed in a car crash in Surrey, B.C. on Sunday, April, 28, 2013. Photo illustration

President of the Khalsa Diwan Society Sohen Singh Deo was one of the many mourners offering his support.

“The whole community is here right now – not just relatives,” he said. “All the family’s gone. Not only one family, two families — three families gone.”

According to Surrey RCMP, the collision is still under investigation and it may take up to a year until charges are laid. The 46-year-old man from Langley who was driving the Dodge Caravan that allegedly ran a red light at the intersection is still in hospital. He’s undergone a number of surgeries and is heavily sedated so police have yet to interview him.

But officials remain in contact with the man’s family and caretakers and plan to speak with him as soon as possible, a Surrey RCMP spokesman said.

The Sachdeva family did not comment at Friday’s service.

“Family members, they are in a real state of shock,” said Prihar.

According to Deo, the community is “deeply concerned” for them following such a tragedy.

“You can’t even go and talk to them yet,” he said.

At the end of the service, the priest encouraged the community to continue supporting the family in trying times as he invited them to a prayer service at a nearby temple that afternoon.

So after paying their respects, family, friends and community members slowly filed out of the Delta funeral home and headed to the Guru Nanak Niwas gurdwara on No. 5 Road in

Richmond to continue praying for a family torn apart by tragedy and for children who will never grow old.

More on this story:

Mourners at the Sachdeva funeral in Surrey

Picture 1 of 22

Mourners arrive at the funeral of Pawandeep Arjot, her two children, Annish Sachdeva, 5, and Jessica Sachdeva, 3, her sister-in-law Neelam Dhingra, and her mother-in-law Vidya Sachdevam in Delta, B.C. on Friday, May 3, 2013. The five family members were killed after their car was struck by a minivan in Surrey, B.C. on Sunday, April, 28, 2013. Jason Payne/PNG


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