Sep 5, 2014

Missing Pandit Brutally Killed

August 30, 2014
hi INDiA

CHICAGO (IL) — Nobody knows. Nobody cares. Well, Hi India was right when it published an article on the sorry plight of Vedic Pandits in its January 24, 2014 edition.

Ajit Panday, aged around 23 years, has been shot dead by an unknown suspect at Big Brother 2 Food Mart on 878 Norwood Road, Southeast Atlanta, Georgia.

Ajit was gunned down late in the night on August 24 as he approached the main gate to close for the day around 10 p.m.. He was found dead, with multiple gunshots, near the front door by the owner of the store – Poltu Roy.

Though Poltu Roy said store closed at 10 pm, the video recording of murder shows the time as 11.28 pm.

Ajit, a native of India, was brought to the US by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi University at Fairfield , Iowa, more than two years ago. Ajit had left O’Hare airport in March to flee and wander into the strange world to find his living.


All this is done to obtain more profit at the cost of life of people like Ajit Panday. In their brazen statements, Poltu Roy and Guru Chand shrugged off responsibility by informing that they had cautioned Ajit Panday to be careful in night time–no other measures were taken–though as per him, Ajit was only volunteering.

Ajit was working in the store for more than two months and was working from 8 am when it opened till the closing time of 11 p.m.–more than 15 hours a day–all the seven days of week. No proper food, sanitation or security was provided at the backroom, where Ajit was lodged after work. In fact, Ajit was housed in in-human conditions with a 15-hours-seven-days-a-week schedule.

The video released by the police/store owner Poltu Roy shows the victim Ajit walking outside to close and lock the security gate on the front door when his attention is drawn away from the building. He freezes in place as the armed robber approaches with his gun raised and forces himself inside.

Ajit was first struck in the face with the gun and after he falls, the gunman shoots him seven times at the door. All the shots were in the upper torso of the body. After that, the murderer is seen scavenging the cash registers, stopping, turning around, and shooting Panday again. After taking money and merchandise, the killer/robber takes to his heels and vanishes into the darkness.

In the South Asian community, there is fear that many more of such incidents of gruesome murders can happen if no Indian governmental action is initiated soon. The community believes that though Ajit is the first casualty that has come to light, there might be many more unknown cases of harassment and other kinds of inhuman treatments meted out to Vedic Pandits somewhere in the US.


While time is ripe for some urgent action by powers that be, it is also strange that despite the Hi India’s expose of the shady happenings in its January 2014 issue, no community leader or community organization has come forward to inquire or show their support to locate and take appropriate action to help Vedic Pandits.

Probably it is not one of those photo opportunities with some political leaders or bigwigs of the Indian government which they can proudly hang in their living rooms and brag about to friends and families. Well, the pathetic conditions of Vedic Pandits do not fit into one of those ‘Who’s Who’ or big names, but there is no doubt that humanity demands that all those attention-seekers come forward and initiate some action.

We can go to prayer places, build big prayer places and get our names engraved on brass plates at the entrance as big donors but let us not forget that ‘Service to mankind is service to God,’ and that being humane is important than self-aggrandizement.

Now is the high time for community to wake up and come forward to support the bereaved family of slain Ajit Panday, whose body was still in mortuary after six days of murder, in want of funds to send his mortal remains to India.
Hi India took the initiative and tried reaching to the people concerned with shipping of the last remains of the murdered Ajit Panday to India but everyone of them avoided the direct question and pushed the blame on family in India to send the permission.

The family, which is still in shock after the loss of their eldest child and its only earning member, could not talk properly on phone.

Gaur Chand, operator of the convenience store, flatly refused to do anything with it and dis-connected the phone and did not respond to several calls made later on.

Poltu Roy, owner of the business and the building, pushed the liability on family to send a clearance.

Ajay Prakash Shrivastava, nephew of Mahesh Yogi and head of global operations of the sponsoring University, also passed the buck to the family and said that he could not trace the family though all the information is available in office records.

Well, Ajit Panday’s death may be just another murder of a person at the wrong time and wrong place but the Hi India Team thinks otherwise, firmly believing that the gruesome murder could have been avoided if–
  1. Somebody, somewhere could have reacted strongly on the Hi India report published on January 24, 2014 about the pitiable conditions of Vedic Pandits and initiated some kind of positive action.
  2. Those responsible for the plight could have spent more energy and resources on fixing the conditions of Vedic Pandits, including their justified compensation and other living conditions, other than damage-controlling their image and credibility tarnished by worldwide media attention.
  3. Now in all of these and the loss of a son and sole bread-winner of the Panday family in Kaushambi, India, the moral responsibilities lie with the Consulate General of India. The Consul-General of late has become very active in cultural activities of the Indian Community in the Chicago land area rather than fixing the many complaints of service users at the Consulate office.
  4. The Consul General of India, Chicago was apprised of all the poor conditions of Vedic Pandits in Fairfield, Iowa in Jan 2014 by Hi India.
  5. The Indian Foreign Services officer was more worried and concerned about Devyani Khobragade than taking care of more than 165 innocent Vedic Pandits with little or no knowledge of English who were abandoned at Chicago’s O’ Hare airport in sub-zero cold in January 2014.

Our humble query for Honorable Consul general of India, Chicago is“Sir, what action you took in the matter of Vedic Pandits so far in eight months?

  1. Is it enough to only inform the foreign ministry at South Block, New Delhi, for 165 missing Vedic Pandits?
  2. So far only one MP in Indian Parliament raised a question about the conditions of Vedic Pandits. Is it enough concern shown by those whose hearts are in the right place?
  3. Why nobody was sent to Fairfield, Iowa to take first-hand inspection and study the conditions of Vedic Pandits at Fairfield, Iowa?
  4. Why till date no question is being asked from those responsible about the passports of Vedic Pandits being held as ransom by the sponsoring University of Vedic Pandits.
  5. Till date, how many passports of Vedic Pandits have been retrieved from those responsible by the Consul General’s office?
  6. Has the responsible entity been informed about the Indian government policy on passports of Indian citizens and their responsibility to return the passports to the nearest Consulate General office?
  7. Why the CG has not initiated any action committee on the plight of Vedic Pandits? Is the high number of 165 mysterious disappearances not enough to draw his attention and action?
  8. Why the CG has not tried to locate some of Vedic Pandits wandering in Chicago land with the help of local police, community and other social media ?
  9. Why no police complaint, along with complaint to Immigration officials and the US Embassy in New Delhi, was initiated?
  10. Why the CG has not shown any concern in more than seven months and any further development on the conditions and whereabouts of the Vedic Pandits?
  11. Why no press release was issued from the CG office on the Hi India report and after meeting those responsible for the plight of Vedic Pandits?
  12. Why community and other community leaders are not included in the efforts to locate and re-habilitate the Vedic Pandits. Or is that they have no knowledge or clue about Vedic Pandits?
  13. Why not on a single occasion has the CG asked or requested for community support. Was his esteemed office unable to take any positive action because of resources or approval from the government of India?
  14. Why no action or at least a courtesy visit was made to the fenced enclosure of Vedic Pandits at Fairfield, Iowa after the Vedic Pandits revolted against the atrocities of the management and was quelled with brutality by local the police and the Sheriff?
  15. Why no scrutiny and review of recruitment and contract between Vedic Pandits and their sponsoring university was initiated at Chicago and at India?
  16. Why no constructive efforts to locate to rehabilitate the missing Vedic Pandits were taken by the honorable Consul General of India?
  17. Why the CG office did not demand the complete list of Vedic Pandits who arrived, left and are missing from the campus?
  18. Why the CG office did not ask for travel details, ticket details and match with their arrival at Indian port?
  19. Is the information on missing Vedic Pandits shared with other Indian Consulates in the US? Or, is it deemed fit as a local issue and it is just that the case is over after it is raised, initiated, its documents filed and its file closed?


Ajit was the sole bread-winner for the family that included his widowed mother and two minor siblings. These innocent Vedic Pandits, like many others, were brought and kept in a fenced enclosure at Fairfield, Iowa, paraded before the prospective client seeking divine help to ward off evil and misfortune

Strangely, Poltu Roy, owner of the property, and Guru Chand, owner/operator of the grocery store, washed his hands of any kind of liability–lack of security, putting new person to the late night shift and allowing him to sleep in the store.
He lied to all TV and newspapers medi aas well as the police that he was a friend and was just volunteering in exchange for a place to sleep.

One wonders whether it was illegal to keep undocumented person as an employee and not reporting his wages for tax fraud, allowing a employee sleep in workplace, putting and endangering the life of a person who not only came to the US only two years ago, but was not able to communicate in English (Thanks to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi University).

It is also a practice of some Desi business owners who are always on the look-out for the innocent, less communicative new arrivals from other countries and putting them in dangerous situations, including the business situated in rough areas, not train them about security procedures and providing enough security and putting them on for long hours.