The latest alleged victim of accused serial killer Bruce McArthur was a Sri Lankan asylum seeker who fled his war-ravaged country in hopes of building a better life for himself in Canada, those who knew him said Tuesday.
Friends and lawyers confirmed that Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam was one of 492 Sri Lankan Tamils aboard the MV Sun Sea, a dilapidated cargo vessel that reached the coast of British Columbia in 2010 after a harrowing six-week voyage.
Friends suggested Kanagaratnam led a lonely life after his arrival in Canada, travelling to Toronto to connect with some distant relatives and ultimately having his claim for refugee status denied.
We came to Canada, we were so happy because we were in a safe place.Dinsan Vanniyasingam
Dinsan Vanniyasingam, a fellow MV Sun Sea passenger, said news of his friend’s death felt particularly cruel when contrasted with the optimism that marked the start of their sojourn in Canada.
“I am so shocked,” Vanniyasingam said in a telephone interview. “We came to Canada, we were so happy because we were in a safe place … Why this have to happen again and again?”
Vanniyasingam knew little about Kanagaratnam’s background before he boarded the Sun Sea, but said he emerged as a well-liked and welcome presence on the crowded boat.
Describing his friend as innocent, trusting and helpful, he said Kanagaratnam could often be found singing songs and playing cards with his fellow passengers.
That more outgoing streak, however, may have been more evident to his fellow migrants.
Gabriel Chand, a Vancouver-based lawyer who helped many of the Sun Sea passengers with their refugee claims, got to know Kanagaratnam somewhat before his departure for Toronto but did not shepherd his application through the system.
“I just remember him being a quiet, to-himself guy,” Chand said. “He wasn’t one of the loud ones, he wasn’t one of the boisterous ones.”
Details are murky about the five years Kanagaratnam spent in Canada.
I just remember him being a quiet, to-himself guy.Gabriel Chand
Vanniyasingam did not know what drew Kanagaratnam east to Toronto, but said he had some distant relatives in the area.
While many of the Sun Sea travellers kept in touch, he said Kanagaratnam did not appear to be in regular contact after moving to the city.
Vanniyasingam said his own last interaction with his friend took place in 2014 when the men ran into each other at an east Toronto shopping mall.
Kanagaratnam was struggling with immigration status
The brief exchange yielded a piece …read more
Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Travel