A Daughter’s Murder

Last year we heard the story of Lakhwinder Kahlon, a Delta, B.C. man who had been arrested for the murder of his two-year-old daughter, Rajwinder. This past week, Lakhwinder received an automatic life term when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. The father, whoadmitted tostrangling and decapitating his daughter, will have to spend 11 years in jail before he can apply for parole. A few days ago, the judge released the 911 call of Lakhwinder admitting to the horrific act. The call is chilling -Lakhwinder tells the operator that he killed his daughter by cutting her neck, that he is depressed, and that the police should come and arrest him.

Whileit is hard to come up with any explanation todescribe why Lakhwindermurdered his daughter, several suggestions were made. In an immediate reaction to hearing the news,there was speculationthat Lakhwinder was upset that he only had daughters. This suggestion was vehemently denied by Lakhwinder’s wife andthe community was quick to denounce female inequality.

Outrage and sorrow have poured out in radio talk shows and letters to newspapers, including one from Tara Diakow of Richmond, B.C., who wrote: “Who will battle against the ugly stereotype that Rajvinder Kahlon’s death has unfortunately brought to many people’s minds – the seemingly disposable position of Indo-Canadian women?” In a forceful statement on Monday, Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh used the case to denounce the practice of aborting female fetuses, which he says continues to take place in Canadian families. [link]

It is clear that female infanticide exists within the Indo Canadian community (we’ve hadsome dialogue about thison TLH)- it exists among our community in America too, and in the UKand in Punjab too. It therefore does not come as a surprise that advertisements for earlygender detection are found in several Punjabi newspapers and for a nominal fee,these kits can even be ordereddirectly online. One companyproudly states that they will not ship these early gender detection kits to Indiaor China, because they realize that in those countriesthere is a high rate of sex-selected abortion.Unfortunately the problem also exists in places where they do ship such as Canada andthe US… but, I digress.

Another suggestion made about why Lakhwinder murdered his daughter was because he was depressed. Dr. Shabehram Lohrasbe, testifying for the defense, saidLakhwinder was a drywaller who had been unemployed for some time, was experiencing financial difficulties, and was taking anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medication.

“It is not clear it ever reached psychotic proportions,” Lohrasbe said. He added: “His wife reported to police that he would complain he had bugs in his head that would not stop.” He said it is common in cases of severe depression for a person to experience a narrowing of thinking, which can sometimes lead to catastrophic thoughts of killing one’s family or oneself. He said Kahlon had seen his psychiatrist two days before the murder. [link]

Depression is, in my opinion, one of the most significant illnesses to affect our community. For one, it is often asymptomaticandtherefore we don’t have the tools to identify the illness. In addition, thereis such stigma surrounding it, that our community continues to ignore the impact of this illness. Where do we go when we need mental health services? In particular, where do non-English speaking members of our community go? LakhwinderKahlon was an immigrantwho was recently unemployed and the family was dealing with financial distress. What happened to Rajwinder was a tragedywhich brings to light the various issues thatadversely impact our community.

Interestingly, at the time this story first came to light last year,Camille did a posttitled, “Mental health today – Are we serving our community?” It seems evident to me that we are not serving our community – whetherby addressing depression or bypreventing sex-selected abortion. We can only hope thatcontinuededucation and awarness around these issues will help to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.


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13 Responses to “A Daughter’s Murder”

  1. Suki says:

    Depression is, in my opinion, one of the most significant illnesses to affect our community. For one, it is often asymptomatic and therefore we don’t have the tools to identify the illness. In addition, there is such stigma surrounding it, that our community continues to ignore the impact of this illness. Where do we go when we need mental health services? In particular, where do non-English speaking members of our community go? Lakhwinder Kahlon was an immigrant who was recently unemployed and the family was dealing with financial distress. What happened to Rajwinder was a tragedy which brings to light the various issues that adversely impact our community.

    Interestingly, at the time this story first came to light last year, Camille did a post titled, “Mental health today – Are we serving our community?” It seems evident to me that we are not serving our community – whether by addressing depression or by preventing sex-selected abortion. We can only hope that continued education and awarness around these issues will help to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.

    Well last time I checked a place like Vancouver metro area has several gurdwara which all make alot of money. You would think that they spend some of the money on things like this which can help the community.

    But how much do the governments of western countries have to bend over to have languages services of every different ethnic group.

    I know will be attacked for this. But how do people like Lakhwinder Kahlon immigrate to the west in the 1st place.

  2. Suki says:

    Depression is, in my opinion, one of the most significant illnesses to affect our community. For one, it is often asymptomatic and therefore we dont have the tools to identify the illness. In addition, there is such stigma surrounding it, that our community continues to ignore the impact of this illness. Where do we go when we need mental health services? In particular, where do non-English speaking members of our community go? Lakhwinder Kahlon was an immigrant who was recently unemployed and the family was dealing with financial distress. What happened to Rajwinder was a tragedy which brings to light the various issues that adversely impact our community.

    Interestingly, at the time this story first came to light last year, Camille did a post titled, Mental health today – Are we serving our community? It seems evident to me that we are not serving our community – whether by addressing depression or by preventing sex-selected abortion. We can only hope that continued education and awarness around these issues will help to ensure that such tragedies are not repeated.

    Well last time I checked a place like Vancouver metro area has several gurdwara which all make alot of money. You would think that they spend some of the money on things like this which can help the community.

    But how much do the governments of western countries have to bend over to have languages services of every different ethnic group.

    I know will be attacked for this. But how do people like Lakhwinder Kahlon immigrate to the west in the 1st place.

  3. Suki says:

    It is clear that female infanticide exists within the Indo Canadian community (we’ve had some dialogue about this on TLH) – it exists among our community in America too, and in the UK and in Punjab too. It therefore does not come as a surprise that advertisements for early gender detection are found in several Punjabi newspapers and for a nominal fee, these kits can even be ordered directly online. One company proudly states that they will not ship these early gender detection kits to India or China, because they realize that in those countries there is a high rate of sex-selected abortion. Unfortunately the problem also exists in places where they do ship such as Canada and the US… but, I digress.

    I can recall when this story came out last year, I saw something about how the wife couldn't get a visa to go across the border so that they find out the sex of the baby early. Had the 3rd child been a boy there is no way the father would have been sad and instead would more then likely been a hero to friends for having son. Other punjabi's would all becoming to his house to see his son and telling him how great he is. Yet because he had a 3rd daughter his life lost meaning. I could image there a very good chance that he was abusive to his wife after the birth of the 3rd daughter.

    The problem of female foeticide is huge among punjabi in the west and don't see it going any time soon.

  4. Suki says:

    It is clear that female infanticide exists within the Indo Canadian community (weve had some dialogue about this on TLH) – it exists among our community in America too, and in the UK and in Punjab too. It therefore does not come as a surprise that advertisements for early gender detection are found in several Punjabi newspapers and for a nominal fee, these kits can even be ordered directly online. One company proudly states that they will not ship these early gender detection kits to India or China, because they realize that in those countries there is a high rate of sex-selected abortion. Unfortunately the problem also exists in places where they do ship such as Canada and the US but, I digress.

    I can recall when this story came out last year, I saw something about how the wife couldn’t get a visa to go across the border so that they find out the sex of the baby early. Had the 3rd child been a boy there is no way the father would have been sad and instead would more then likely been a hero to friends for having son. Other punjabi’s would all becoming to his house to see his son and telling him how great he is. Yet because he had a 3rd daughter his life lost meaning. I could image there a very good chance that he was abusive to his wife after the birth of the 3rd daughter.

    The problem of female foeticide is huge among punjabi in the west and don’t see it going any time soon.

  5. bdb says:

    uh ’suki’ your pathetic attempts at masking your identity with incorrect grammer and syntax-it doesn’t fool anyone. Just makes us laugh. Here and on Sepia Mutiny where sometimes you forget who you are posing as and write perfect english! Jackass!

  6. bdb says:

    uh suki your pathetic attempts at masking your identity with incorrect grammer and syntax-it doesnt fool anyone. Just makes us laugh. Here and on Sepia Mutiny where sometimes you forget who you are posing as and write perfect english! Jackass!

  7. Aman says:

    This is a very sad and disturbing story. It is scary to think about our present time with people losing their jobs and unable to support their families, and I am sure there are plenty of people feeling depressed lately. It is interesting that the Father was seeking help from a therapist before this murder, and I wonder whether he was on medication or if the therapist was unable to help him quickly enough. Regardless the Indian-Punjabi community is in dire need of psychological help. We are in a community where problems are brushed under the rug, because we're supposed to be show a certain side of ourselves to others in our community. It comes to the fact that we are a very judgmental society. We are so quick to judge others, which is why so few people will ever reach out for help. I think if things are going to change, they will change with the younger generation. A generation that has grown up in the West and been educated in a culture, where it's okay to be yourself and openly talk about how you're feeling. It is sad that the older generation has lived with so much grief and stress silently, but as a younger generation we should make an concerted effort to start open dialogue with those close to us. We should be the ones to ask questions, and if we see something that is disturbing, reach out to the person or try to find them a resource that can help.

  8. Aman says:

    This is a very sad and disturbing story. It is scary to think about our present time with people losing their jobs and unable to support their families, and I am sure there are plenty of people feeling depressed lately. It is interesting that the Father was seeking help from a therapist before this murder, and I wonder whether he was on medication or if the therapist was unable to help him quickly enough. Regardless the Indian-Punjabi community is in dire need of psychological help. We are in a community where problems are brushed under the rug, because we’re supposed to be show a certain side of ourselves to others in our community. It comes to the fact that we are a very judgmental society. We are so quick to judge others, which is why so few people will ever reach out for help. I think if things are going to change, they will change with the younger generation. A generation that has grown up in the West and been educated in a culture, where it’s okay to be yourself and openly talk about how you’re feeling. It is sad that the older generation has lived with so much grief and stress silently, but as a younger generation we should make an concerted effort to start open dialogue with those close to us. We should be the ones to ask questions, and if we see something that is disturbing, reach out to the person or try to find them a resource that can help.

  9. list says:

    We are so quick to judge others, which is why so few people will ever reach out for help. I think if things are going to change, they will change with the younger generation. A generation that has grown up in the West and been educated in a culture, where it's okay to be yourself and openly talk about how you're feeling. It is sad that the older generation has lived with so much grief and stress silently, but as a younger generation we should make an concerted effort to start open dialogue with those close to us.

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