Father says victim of fatal sword attack in Vancouver, 19, was ‘a good kid’

Published: January 30, 2013
Manraj Akalirai

More than one hundred people gather on Elgin Street for a candlelight vigil Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 in Vancouver, B.C. to remember 19-year-old Manraj Akalirai, who died after a swarming attack Jan. 23. Ian Lindsay/PNG

 

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Ranjit Akalirai is pleading for answers following his only son’s brutal slaying last week.

“I tried to ask the questions to the police and they just wouldn’t answer,” Akalirai said.

The last time his 19-year-old boy, Manraj, spoke to family was just after 10 p.m. Jan. 23 — on his way to pick up his mother from a late shift at work.

But he never made it.

Manraj was killed that night by a group of men in a swarming and sword attack near the intersection of 47th Avenue and Elgin Street — about five minutes from the family home.

Vancouver police initially said Manraj was “known” to them – but his family insists he had no criminal ties.

“He was a good kid,” Akalirai told Vancouver Desi from his East Vancouver home on Tuesday, his wife and daughter nearby.

“Just because he’s Indo-Canadian there’s a bunch of stereotypes,” his eldest daughter Aman said. “He had a bigger heart than all of us … He didn’t deserve this.”

According to Akalirai, Manraj has no criminal record — only a couple of speeding tickets.

But last October, Manraj was stabbed as he tried to protect his friend while breaking up a fight, he said.

“He had nothing to do with it,” he added.

But now he’s left asking whether this has any tie to his son’s fate: “Was he targeted?” he asked.

On Tuesday — nearly a week since the attack — it was difficult for Akalirai to speak about his beloved son with whom he spent most of his time.

Dressed in casual black clothing and a baseball cap, Akalirai’s eyes were downcast and sombre as he greeted friends, family and community members into his home. The doorbell would ring and people would flood in, exchange words, shake his hand or embrace, then join the others in the solemn home.

“(It’s the) worst thing of my life,” Akalirai said.

He recalled their love for antique cars — how on a “sunny day” they’d take a collector car out for a drive.

Manraj was busy, dividing his time between Langara College, where he was studying criminology hoping to become a police officer, his job at Rona, the Sikh temple on Joy Street, where he went for mass and to volunteer, and daily visits to Fitness World, where his father would often join him for a workout.

“We did mostly everything together,” he said. “He’s so close to me.”

He also spoke highly of a friendship Manraj developed with a disabled boy at school.

“He left him his number — he was kind. These young kids they make jokes at these people … they call him names,” said Akalirai. “But (Manraj) was kind.”

Criminal charges are yet to be laid in the case and the investigation is ongoing, VPD spokesman Randy Fincham said Wednesday.

Five people of interest were initially brought in for questioning, but have since been released. Fincham would not elaborate on how Manraj was “known to police.”

“He’s been good all his life and now the cops give him a bad name in the end,” said Akalirai. “It hurts.”

On Wednesday evening, about 100 people gathered in memorial on a dew-covered front lawn on Elgin Street – near the scene of Manraj’s murder – spilling onto the sidewalk and even between parked cars.

“I shouldn’t have to be doing this for my little cousin,” Rick Sidhu, 24, said softly as he began the candlelight vigil, surrounded by dozens of Manraj’s peers and friends.

“He was beyond his years in how humble he was and the positive attitude he brought to everything,” Sidhu told Vancouver Desi. “The amount of people here shows how many people truly did love him and care of his kind demeanor.

“He’s affected a lot of people.”

— with a file from Stephanie Ip

 


Tags: ,





Featured

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »

Amanda Todd is shown in an undated handout photo. The man accused in the cyberbullying case of British Columbia teen Amanda Todd has denied the allegations against him in a letter released by his lawyer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Facebook, HO

‘First off, I’m innocent’: Dutch man accused in Amanda Todd extortion case writes open letter saying he’s the wrong guy

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI The Dutch man suspected of online extortion in the Amanda Todd case has released a letter from jail, to tell the…
Continue Reading »

Indian spectators watch as a float carrying a sign that reads "Congratulations! It's a Baby Girl" passes by during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The float represented India's Ministry of Women and Child Development.  An estimated 26 million babies are born anually in India, a country considered to be one of the worst places to be born a girl because of a societal 'gender gap' that favours boys and preferences for male children.  ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

India’s Supreme Court bans online advertisements for pre-birth sex tests

VANCOUVER DESI India’s Supreme Court has ordered Internet giants Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to block all advertisements for pre-birth tests that determine a child’s gender,…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Amanda Todd is shown in an undated handout photo. The man accused in the cyberbullying case of British Columbia teen Amanda Todd has denied the allegations against him in a letter released by his lawyer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Facebook, HO

‘First off, I’m innocent’: Dutch man accused in Amanda Todd extortion case writes open letter saying he’s the wrong guy

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI The Dutch man suspected of online extortion in the Amanda Todd case has released a letter from jail, to tell the…
Continue Reading »

sethi

American Punjabi rapper feels at home in Vancouver

Collaborative hip hop and artistic group Char Bagh set to play the PuSh Festival on Saturday   LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI California-based MC and artist…
Continue Reading »

Al Paskall, husband of slain hockey mom Julie Paskall, was in Surrey Provincial court today during day one of her accused killer's preliminary hearing. Gord Goble/Surrey Now.

‘I wasn’t there when I should’ve been,’ husband of slain Surrey hockey mom says in court

AMY REID SURREY NOW “It should have been me.” More than a year after his high school sweetheart Julie Paskall lost her life following an…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

DEVGAN

Bollywood film that was to shoot in Alberta ‘indefinitely postponed’

ERIC VOLMERS CALGARY HERALD Don’t brush up your Bollywood dance moves yet, Alberta. Shivay, a Hindi film that was set to start filming in the Rocky Mountains…
Continue Reading »

File photo: The new Surrey City Hall in Surrey, B.C., December 29, 2014. Arlen Redekop/PNG

Surrey named one of top seven most intelligent communities in the world

AMY REID SURREY NOW SURREY — The City of Surrey has been named one of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2015 by New York-based think…
Continue Reading »

FILE PHOTO: A leopard walks with a tranquiliser dart in the residential area of Jyotikuchi in Guwahati, the capital city of the northeastern state of Assam on March 15, 2009. Three people were mauled by the leopard after the cat strayed into the city before it was tranquilised by forestry department officials. BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images

Leopard in India beaten to death by villagers after vicious attack

IANS Kolkata  – A young male leopard was beaten to death by a mob of angry villagers on Monday after it strayed into a West…
Continue Reading »

prv0122Nfashion01

Passion for fashion turned into day job for Surrey clothing designer

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey’s Davi Bains-Gill never thought her love for fashion and design could be her livelihood. She pursued a career in social…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood movie

Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan rules out Hollywood

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t foresee a transition to Hollywood, according to SkyNews. Although Bachchan recently appeared alongside Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio in The…
Continue Reading »

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »

Sunny Leone posts a photo of her family vacation to her Instagram account. Submitted photo/Instagram.

Sunny Leone signed on to mentor participants of new social media reality show

HINDUSTAN TIMES Listed as India’s most-searched celebrity last year, the Internet has certainly played a crucial role in Indo Canadian porn star turned Bollywood actress…
Continue Reading »