Thousands pay tribute to Indo-Canadian MLA

Toronto, Nov 30 (IANS) Over 2,000 people gathered in Calgary to pay their tributes to an Indian-Canadian MLA who was killed on November 23 while trying to help a stranded driver, media reports said.

Manmeet Bhullar, 35, a former minister in Canada’s Alberta province who at the age of 28 became the youngest Indian-Canadian to get elected as an MLA, was killed in a road accident when he stopped to help a stranded driver on a snow-covered highway between Calgary and Edmonton.

Bhullar was standing outside his vehicle when another passing vehicle lost control and struck the median and hit him.

“Tonight (Sunday), downtown Calgary landmarks will be lit in navy blue (Bhullar’s favourite colour) in honour of our friend Manmeet Bhullar,” tweeted Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who attended the state memorial service at the Jubilee auditorium along with over 40 other MLAs, according to voiceonline.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement called Bhullar an “exemplary man who devoted his life, publicly and privately, to helping others”.

Former premier Jim Prentice, who was master of ceremonies, read Trudeau’s statement to the gathering.

Prentice said Bhullar would have had a chuckle and a smile over the outpouring of support and the turnout for his memorial, CBC reported. He praised Bhullar’s generosity and optimism and his “shining belief in the ability of young people to change the world”.

Friends noted that Bhullar was proud to be a Sikh, Indian, Calgarian and Canadian.

Bhullar’s wife Namrita thanked everyone and said: “Not everyone dies a hero… Meetha not only died as one, he lived as one.”

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