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According to police and court documents that have been filed in Mumbai, she was killed by four assassins, allegedly hired by two of her brothers over a dispute about their father’s $10-million estate.
She was trying to broker a peace between her brothers when she was stabbed and bludgeoned to death at our family’s ancestral home in August 2003.
My 62-year-old mother was an obstetrician and gynecologist who, over 40 years, delivered more than 10,000 babies in Orangeville, Ont., and in Saskatchewan.
Dozens of her patients have named their children Asha, because she excelled in complicated births.
Most importantly, my mother was a proud Canadian; a defender of the health-care system and an advocate for women.
However, she is being treated as anything but a Canadian.
For over a decade, we’ve been trying to get assistance from the RCMP and the federal government to help us bring the alleged killers to justice.
Canadian officials have done nothing, saying this is an Indian case and I should take my concerns to India.
One of my mother’s brothers, Subhash Agrawal, is the subject of an Interpol Red Notice. He remains beyond the long arm of Indian law as a Canadian citizen living in the Toronto area.
Since my mother’s murder, we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, DNA analysis and travel, to assist in the investigations.
Indian police who have come to Canada said they could not get any meaningful assistance here.
One of the hired killers has also gone before an Indian magistrate, confessing to the murder and exposing those who hired him and his accomplices.
The case against my mother’s killers is strong.
But it’s deteriorating given the passage of time and Canada’s reluctance to get involved.
Now one of the warring brothers, allegedly the architect of the crime, has died. One of the hired killers charged in the case has died. My aunt, a key witness to the events that led up to the murder, has died.
Evidence collected over the years has been misplaced in India, jeopardizing the trial.
Certain key documents have expired due to statutes of limitations that govern their enforcement shelf live.
I fear my 82-year-old father, who’s making the trek to India with me this time, may never see justice done for his wife.
I keep asking myself: would things be different if my mother was a white Canadian?
I’ve seen swift and decisive RCMP action in many other cases involving Canadians killed in Mexico, the United States and Europe.
But when it comes to Indo-Canadians being killed in India, there seems to be a different standard.
My story is not unlike that of the long-running Canada-India murder case involving the contract-killing of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, a beautician from Maple Ridge.B.C.
Sidhu, known as Jassi, 25, was killed in Punjab, India, in June 2000 after she defied her family to marry the man she loved – a poor rickshaw driver from her ancestral village.
Within days, Indian police arrested the assassins, who they said were hired by Jassi’s mother and uncle, living in Canada.
It took 18 years, several court cases in Canada, three documentaries, a made-for-TV movie, a website called justiceforjassi.com and a book before the pair was extradited to India on Jan. 25, 2019, to make their first appearance in a court in Malerkotla, Punjab.
I can only hope I don’t have to wait that long.
Canada has so far not helped me get justice for my mom. But many Canadians have.
I thank you for that.
The saga of Dr. Asha Goel’s life and death can be found at https://www.ashagoel.ca/
When not on his quest for justice, Sanjay Goel is the president of the Vancouver-based holiday business Cruise Connections Canada.
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