Elderly couple from Calgary found murdered in Punjab’s Phagwara (update)

Phagwara (Punjab): An elderly couple from Calgary – Kirpal Singh Minhas, 67, and his wife Devinder Kaur Minhas, 65 – were found murdered at their residence in Onkar Nagar here on May 30, according to Indian media reports.

Punjab Police told the media that the couple came to Phagwara from Canada in November 2019 and were to return on April 8, but got stranded here because of the lockdown in India.

Their relatives in Calgary later told Canadian media that they couldn’t register them online for a repatriation flight arranged by the Canadian government because they were not citizens.

Punjab Police told the media last week that though the dead couple’s room appeared to have been rifled through, no important documents or ornaments were found missing.

Police said one of the couple’s tenants, Jaspal Singh alias Jassi Dholi, had been missing since Saturday morning. The police registered a case against the tenant and were looking for him.

The husband had been repeatedly stabbed with a kirpan while his wife seemed to have been strangled, according to media reports.

One of the couple’s neighbours told the police that his wife and Devinder Minhas were together at the gurdwara on Friday evening and had returned around the same time. When he was returning home, he went to the Minhas’s house to check if his wife was there, but found the lights were off. When he knocked on their door, a person, who he believed was the tenant, said they had gone to sleep and he went back home.

He said the Minhas’s children used to call their parents from Canada every day at about 6 p.m. On Saturday, when their daughter couldn’t contact them, she called his wife. When he and another neighbour went to check on the couple, there was no response and the gate was bolted from inside.

They informed the daughter about it and she contacted her relatives who got in touch with the police. The police entered the Minhas’s house and discovered their bodies in the bedroom.

On Monday, police told the media that the accused were identified as Jagdev Singh, alias Jassi Dholi, of Sadhniwas village near Jakhal (Haryana), Suraj Kumar of Phagwara and Ranjit Singh of Sadhniwas. Jagdev was residing as a tenant in the couple’s house and had not paid rent for the past several months, they said.

This week, the couple’s son-in-law in Calgary told the media that they had returned to Punjab to check on their properties there. The couple, who were permanent residents had come to Canada in 2016 and used to run a transportation company.

While their two sons live in the U.S., their two daughters live in Calgary. The couple lived with one of their daughters.

Although Indian media reports said nothing of value was found missing, their son-in-law said that police had told him that jewelry, cash, bank cards and phones were stolen.

He said that police said three men attacked his father-in-law in his bedroom on Friday night and stabbed him multiple times. His mother-in-law had gone out and when she returned, the men strangled her.

Their relatives in India arranged for the elderly couple’s funeral on Tuesday. Their children in Canada and the U.S. are devastated that they were unable to attend their funeral because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions.