Sep 3, 2014

Missing Pandit was Brutally Killed

Hi India Live
September 3, 2014

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.
This story originally appeared on Hi India Live.