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Abbotsford, BC, Canada - pre-wedding tragedy

"Wedding goes ahead despite tragedy"

Six NRIS killed & 19 injured when truck plowed into "Jaago" wedding ceremony

Abbotsford, BC, August 27, 2007
Darshan Sahota

A 71-year-old man, believed to be NRI (NON RESIDENT INDIAN) pickup truck driver plowed into the family gathered to participate in a traditional Indian wedding ritual called "Jaago" shortly after 11 p.m. Friday where mostly female members of the bride's family walk together from the house of a close family friend to the bride's residence. They were singing, carrying lights and dressed in bright clothing.

According to local news paper, three men and three women were killed. Five of the victims have been identified by Punjabi Radio as Damanpreet Singh Kang, 13, Rubal Kaur, 22, Bhupinder Singh Kaler, 24, Rapduman Singh Dhillan, 25 and Satinder Kaur Mahal, 50. A sixth victim has not yet been identified. Some of the them were reportedly caught underneath the truck as it hurtled towards the ditch.

Two children, aged seven and four months, were reportedly among the wounded. Injuries ranged from leg fractures to head trauma, and one person was said to be in surgery Saturday afternoon.

Two helicopters and fourteen ambulances, and numerous off-duty police were called to the scene and the injured were transferred to various hospitals with minor to serious injuries. , sending shockwaves through the NRI, Indo-Canadian community.

The police questioned the driver, who was reported to be in shock. He was later released. Police have ruled out alcohol or drugs not a factor.

The cause of the crash is unknown and investigators remain at the scene for more information.

On Sunday, The bride Harsiman Kaur Mahil, 22, and groom Jarmal (Robbie) Singh Grewal were married at the Mission Sikh temple a quiet Sikh ceremony attended only by immediate family members.

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Literally, "wake up!" When there’s a marriage in the house, girls dance through the village streets carrying a pot (gaggar) decorated with lightened candles and singing jaagu songs. The theme of song in the ‘Jago’ is social and typically a bit of teasing (often aimed at elders) goes with the song.