Candlelight vigil held in memory of Maple Batalia and other victims of domestic violence
On what would have been the twenty-fifth birthday of her sister, Maple Batalia, Roseleen Batalia and her family hosted a candlelight vigil to honour victims of domestic violence. The vigil was held Saturday evening, March 4, at Holland Park, across the street from Surrey’s SFU campus where the family had lost Batalia six years earlier.
This year, the vigil was held in light of the recent sentencing of Batalia’s co-accused, Gursimar Bedi, who recieved 18 months in jail. Batalia’s killer, Gurjinder Dhaliwal, plead guilty to second-degree murder in 2016 and was sentenced to life in prison.
The family is working in partnership with Network to End Violence in Relationships (NEVR) to help promote awareness about domestic violence and to prevent similar tragedies. Toolkits were handed out to the public as Balbir Gurm, NEVR facilatator, explained how to recognize and respond to relationship violence.
“I think it’s up to each and everyone of us to ensure that our communities, our families, and our loved ones are safe,” said Gurm in an interview. “In relationship violence, people are being violated by those who that are their loved ones. It becomes extremely difficult for people to talk about and to come forward.”
Near the end of the vigil, the family released birthday balloons to celebrate Maple’s life. “I’m really happy that the community showed. All our supporters, they stand with us today not only to honour Maple’s life but also the lives of women that we lost and the survivors,” said Roseleen Batalia.
“I couldn’t be happier to celebrate Maple’s life and to also remember the cause that’s so close to our heart, that is to end violence. I feel really content and I feel the love at Holland Park. She loved this place.”