Organizers of a candlelight vigil held Saturday for a 21-year-old international student from India who was killed last month in B.C. say they held the event to raise awareness of violence against women and mental health.
Prabhleen Matharu was found dead on Nov. 21 in a Surrey home. Police also found the body of an 18-year-old man in the home, and say they are not looking for any other suspects.
Dupinder Saran said organizers of the vigil hoped to bring the Surrey community together and talk about some difficult issues.
"We would appreciate the community supporting this cause, because at the end of the day I think it's a community problem – it's not just one family's problem," said Saran.
"For women that have in the past been murdered, how do we end that violence from them from boyfriends or ex-boyfriends or husbands."
While there have been other high-profile cases of women from Surrey's South Asian community losing their lives to family or partner violence, Saran said the fact that Matharu was an international student is a wake-up call.
"We want community solidarity, we want people to know we all have to come together now – it's kind of at that point where we're losing too many of our children," Matharu said.
"International students are now dying, along with youth here."
The vigil was organized by One Voice Canada, an organization that advocates for international students.
"We want to make people aware: If you have any mental health issues … don't hesitate to (ask for help)," said Rajpreet Sohal, a member of One Voice Canada.