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Murder charge after former Surrey temple leader's wife dies

Baldev Singh Kalsi  - Gurdwara Sahib Brookside temple photo
Baldev Singh Kalsi
— image credit: Gurdwara Sahib Brookside temple photo

The severely injured wife of a high-ranking member of the Surrey Sikh community has died, and her husband is now charged with second-degree murder.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team confirmed the death of Narinder Kaur Kalsi Sunday afternoon, one week after she was found in severe medical distress inside a South Surrey home.

“Sadly, Narinder Kaur Kalsi was taken off of life support today and pronounced deceased just before 4:30 p.m.,” IHIT said on Twitter.

They announced the upgraded charge against her husband, Baldev Singh Kalsi, Monday morning.

The 66-year-old husband was first charged last week with aggravated assault, then attempted murder, after his wife was placed on life support July 13.

The accused himself was hospitalized two days later, following an in-custody attack. Surrey RCMP say he suffered facial injuries at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre. Police have identified a 42-year-old suspect in the attack, and Kalsi is expected to make a full recovery. Police say the assault does not appear to be linked to the accusations against him.

Kalsi was removed from his position as president of the Gurdwara Sahib Brookside temple, four days after his wife was found in severe medical distress at a home in the 19400-block of 32 Avenue.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic incident,” temple spokesman Surindar Singh Jabal and new president Sardul Singh Rehal said in a statement issued Thursday. “The management of Gurdwara Sahib Brookside categorically condemns all kinds of violence. These are difficult moments for the society.”

An Akhand Path – a 48-hour recital of the Sikh scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib – to pray for Narinder Kaur Kalsi’s speedy recovery, began Friday. Monday, the day after the victim’s death, Jabal told Peace Arch News the mother and grandmother will be missed.

“She was a good lady,” Jabal said.

“She was doing volunteer work all the time. “We’re going to miss her very dearly. Everybody is grieving… especially the family, especially the kids.”

Prayers began anew at the Surrey temple Monday morning.

In a call to action last week, the World Sikh Organization of Canada offered “access to a network of psychologists and counsellors who can assist with family dispute resolution issues.”

“The entire community is shocked by this incident,” Jasbir Kaur Randhawa, the WSO’s B.C. vice-president states in the news release.

“Violence against women is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by the South Asian community, including Sikhs. Early intervention and role modelling are key to making a difference.”

Following a bail hearing Thursday afternoon – which was rescheduled twice due to the in-custody attack – Judge Jennifer Oulton ruled Kalsi was to remain in custody.

He is next due in court on Aug. 6.

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