Six years ago today, on September 28th, 2011, Maple Batalia was brutally gunned down by her ex-boyfriend on Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus.
The murder not only devastated the 19-year-old student’s family and friends, but impacted the entire Surrey community.
The legal proceedings were closely followed by the media, and vigils were held in honour of the Maple Batalia’s legacy.
Batalia’s ex-boyfriend, Gurjinder Dhaliwal, was sentenced to life in prison for his crime without a chance of parole for the next 21 years. He was described as extremely controlling and possessive.
Batalia had ended the relationship with Dhaliwal shortly before he began sending her a barrage of threatening text messages. When he saw her with another man after they broke up, he became increasingly enraged. The man he saw was just a friend of Batalia’s.
While he was eventually sentenced for first degree murder, it took an astonishing five years for the charges to finally be made. The time between the murder and the sentencing was extremely hard on Batalia’s family, as they were not able to fully grieve while handling the details of the case.
Since the proceedings took an extended amount of time to occur, the family has been extremely vocal on the topic of judicial reform. They hope that other families and victims will not have to endure the same process that they underwent while awaiting justice.
The Legacy Of Maple Batalia
Batalia was a part-time model and actress with a bright future when her life was tragically stolen from her. She had plans of becoming a doctor after she completed her undergraduate studies, and was loved by those who knew her. Her friends and family remember her as compassionate, intelligent and very warm.
Maple’s sister, Roseleen Batalia, remained in contact with a documentary filmmaker who explores issues regarding violence in the community. The filmmaker, Mani Amar, announced last year that he plans to develop a documentary film based on the life and death of Maple Batalia.
Considering himself an activist before a filmmaker, he hopes to shine light on the issue violence against women.
“In B.C., in Canada, we’ve had way too many deaths because of violence against women and I feel like the lack education in high schools with regards to healthy relationships and knowledge about abuse is still very lacking,” Roseleen said in an interview with CTV News.
The Batalia family have also started a bursary at SFU for women that are studying health sciences in honour of Maple.