Praying Pundit Robbed in El Socorro

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By Prior Beharry

PUNDIT Paitaram Maharaj prays to God and begs a bandit not to shoot his wife.

While the bandits spared their lives, Maharaj was robbed of thousands of dollars in cash he had withdrawn from the bank on Thursday morning.

This robbery follows a spate of crime in the San Juan area. It happened on the same day of the funeral of Aranguez businessman Cheval Ramjattan who was murdered outside his pharmacy last week and the home invasion of a family on Ramlal Street over the Easter weekend.

Speaking at his Temple Street, Lower El Socorro home minutes after the robbery, Maharaj told AZP News that he had gone to the bank to withdraw cash since his son was travelling on Friday.

He said he was with his wife and after withdrawing money from First Citizens in San Juan also passed in at Scotiabank a short distance away.

Maharaj, 65, said they went to the grocery and made a few other stops at vegetable stalls along the Aranguez Main Road.

He said they arrived at their Temple Street home before 12 noon and were unpacking the groceries when two men jumped over the wall and one had a gun demanding the money.

One bandit pointed a gun at Maharaj and said, “Way d money, way d money!”

The bandit then pointed the gun at his wife saying he would shoot her.

The pundit said the bandit said, “She look like she go talk.”

Maharaj said, “I was holding his hand (with the gun) and saying, ‘oh Bhagavan no, Om Namah Shivaya’. I was shouting, my wife was calmer than me.”

He said they demanded the money and he gave them the bag with it and they also took his documents like his identification cards.

The men then escaped in a white Nissan B14 that was waiting outside.

Maharaj was visited by members of his flock yesterday when AZP News visited as his temple the Sumat Sabha Mandir is next to his home where he was robbed. He said he was unable to do to satsangh he has once a week at his temple on Thursday afternoon. But he was making arrangements for it to take place.

The pundit said he was even robbed the money he was given by one of his worshippers for the prayers he performed at her house on Wednesday.

Maharaj said this was the first time something like this has happened and he lived in that same spot all his life.

This latest robbery comes after pundits in the area on Wednesday called for religious leaders to preach in hotspots to help people in vulnerable communities where youths turn to crime. 

Some pundits also said that members of the East Indian community were being targeted in the Aranguez area. 


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