Vancouver, August 4: Advocates for victims of domestic violence are outraged a Surrey, B.C., man who killed his pregnant wife 16 years ago has been granted day parole.
Days after he strangled Manjit Panghali in their Cloverdale home in October 2006 and burned her body, Mukhtiar Panghali made a tearful public plea for his missing wife’s safe return.
Dr. Satwinder Bains, the director of the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley, called the display disgusting.
“So much disingenuity from this man who was a partner of the woman who he killed, and for him to claim to be looking for her body knowing full well what he had done,” said Bains.
Ninu Kang with Ending Violence Association of B.C. remembers identifying with Manjit Panghali, who had a four-year-old daughter.
“I’m a South Asian woman myself, and back in the day I could identify with her and could identify being a professional woman. She was a teacher, she was pregnant with her second child, and her life was cut short, only just to find out it was her husband who killed her,” said Kang.
She also clearly recalls Mukhtiar Panghali crying at a news conference about Manjit’s sudden disappearance.
Panghali was convicted of second-degree murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 15 years. But because of time already served, he became eligible for day parole after only 11 years, and his application was granted last week.
Both advocates are concerned Panghali is not genuine in having changed his mindset about women. In parole documents, he admitted he’d thought about killing his wife for years because she didn’t appreciate him, and said he regretted the “regressive and rather archaic attitudes and beliefs about marriage and intimate relationships.”
“I hope that he has made those changes, because the system will free him,” said Bains. “We have to hope he has made some change in his life and no one else falls victim to his ideas.”
Kang says Panghali’s actions will matter more than his words.
Panghali has to abide by several conditions while on day parole, including staying away from his victim’s family. That includes his daughter, who was four years old when he killed her mother.
Kang is concerned Manjit’s family could still run into him.
“I think about how that’s going to re-traumatize them,” she said. “ My heart is going out to her daughter and her sister and the extended family, and I send prayers to them and hope they have supports in place.”