Amar Singh Sandhu was knee deep in the current Ross St. Gurdwara election, when he was killed, and there has been a lot of talk that his murder had something to do with Gurdwara politics and upcoming election at Ross Street temple.
SOUTH VANCOUVER – Amar Singh Sandhu, who was gunned down in Richmond two weeks ago in a shocking gangland-style murder, is being remembered fondly by his colleagues on the Sikh Sangat Seva Society of Vancouver, which has been at odds with the moderate slate over control of the Sikhs' oldest Society in North America.
Sandhu was knees deep in the current Ross St. Gurdwara election, when he was killed, and there has been a lot of talk that his murder had something to do with Gurdwara politics and upcoming election at Ross Street temple.
Sandhu's motivation, according to Sikh Sangat Group, was to bring forth as he stated “a progressive positive change”.
A court decision had nullified all the previous Ross St. Gurduwara memberships resulting in a new enrollment process which is ongoing until July 3rd, 2016.
Sandhu put aside his business commitments and had recently fully focused on getting this message out. After twenty years of a one party rule he believed it was time to bring a change that would result in better programs, more community and youth involvement along with total transparency for all aspects of the oldest Sikh Society in North America.
“He envisioned change including implementing an updated constitution whereby all future court litigation could be avoided and replaced by provisions that would engage a mediator to resolve disputes and thus save hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The updated constitution would also implement a fair and transparent process for membership registration and elections for the future and not favor any group including the one in power,” Sikh Sangat said in a news release.
Sandhu was born in Punjab and arrived in Canada in 1968 at the age of eight. Vancouver became his home and he spent most of his life near the Ross St. Gurdwara.
He attended David Livingstone and Walter Moberly Elementary Schools followed by a year at John Oliver.
Sandhu returned to India for a private school education in Nabha for two years in grades nine and ten. At the private school in Nabha, he discovered the world of sports whereby he captained the volleyball, soccer, grass hockey and basketball teams. He then returned home and completed grades 11 and 12 at John Oliver where he found a new love for wrestling.
He wrestled provincially and over the years trained with some of the best athletes in our community. He won numerous wrestling competitions in the annual Punjabi tournaments and formed a new Kabaddi team with his friends and captained the “South Vancouver Kabaddi Club”.
The team won numerous events in the lower mainland and was one of the best clubs at the time. This is when the athletes played for the love of the game and there were essentially no financial rewards. He also joined Western Gym in Vancouver where he trained with some of the best bodybuilders in the country resulting in him winning trophies in bench press and bodybuilding.
Along with living a healthy lifestyle and being an athlete Sandhu understood the importance of higher education. He obtained a diploma in Business Management from Langara College which led to managerial positions in the retail world. He had a hunger for success and ventured into the business world by opening a painting company in the mid 1980s. He took many risks, not always succeeding, but never giving up as he believed in perseverance and hard work. This led to other areas of construction whereby in the late 1980s he was building homes.
He was never complacent and looked forward to new challenges. He would operate a Door Company, a Trucking Company and even took over a bankrupt sawmill all with limited success. However, he had his best success with land development and construction. Over the past twenty-five years he built houses, townhouses, condos, shopping malls and developed land.
But somehow, he always found time for community issues and in particular Gurdwara politics. In addition, he became involved with charity work and nearly ten years ago Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen (GNFK) was founded in New West and he was one of the pioneers with the group that helped to feed the needy in downtown Vancouver.
GNFK is now a very well organized group with lots of volunteers with much youth involvement and is the pride of our community.
Sandhu then helped organize the “Sikh Seva” group in Vancouver six years ago which prepares food at the Ross Gurdwara and like GNFK serves the needy and poor in the downtown east side.
“He had taken time off work and was committed to visiting people’s homes in an effort to get them registered before the July 3 deadline for the upcoming Ross St. Gurdwara election. Now for the remaining few weeks people will have to register on their own. He did his best and now it is up to all of us to help create the change that he envisioned. Let us not let his efforts and hard work go to waste and continue the march he was on,” Sikh Sangat said.
Sandhu was laid to rest last Sunday, June 12 at Riverside Funeral Home in Delta and had his akhand-path, final rites prayers at Khalsa Diwan Society Vancouver.