With additional reporting by Ryan Hamilton-Davis.
A 45-year-old pundit was shot dead and his family robbed at their First Street, Five Rivers, Arouca home shortly after 11pm on Saturday.
The murder has left members of the Hindu community and Sunil Ragbirsingh’s relatives in shock and grief. A relative told Newsday the incident happened very quickly, and they never contemplated crime would have reached on their doorsteps as they thought criminals would, at least, have respect for a holy man. But the gunmen shot Ragbirsingh as they made off with stolen items from the house.
Relatives told reporters, when a country could kill holy people, women, children and animals, that country is doomed.
Newsday was told pundit Ragbirsingh, the co-founder of the Kali Yatra Foundation, returned home after completing a puja (prayers) at the Endeavor temple in Chaguanas. As he arrived at home, he was confronted by three men, with bandanas over their faces, who pointed a gun at him and his relatives and announced a hold-up. The gunman ordered Ragbirsingh to hand over a safe containing an undisclosed amount of cash. They then robbed relatives of jewellery, cell phones and other items. Before fleeing the scene, one of the men fired a shot hitting Ragbirsingh. He died instantly. Hysterical relatives called Arouca police who, led by Sen Supt Daniel, Supts Gallindo and David, ASP Mervyn Edwards, Inspector Greene, went to the scene.
Police walked the area in an attempt to see if there were any CCTV cameras which may have footage to assist in their investigation.
ACP Irwin Hackshaw said yesterday, every effort would be made to find Ragbirsingh’s killers. President of the Inter Religious Organisation, Archbishop Barbara Gray-Burke condemned the killing.
“They have no respect for the men of God,“ she said.
”People have dedicated their lives to serve God but evil men are stalking the land and trying to take them away. Who is next?”
Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, Satnarayan Maharaj, also expressed sadness. He said although Ragbirsingh was not on the roster of the Pundits’ Council, he was a citizen and his violent death is a regrettable.
Some of Ragbir’s friends and followers took to Facebook to express their shock and anger.
One person said, “Such a kind humble soul. Gone too soon!!! How many more innocent lives would be snatched away by criminals?”
Another said, “My brother Pt Sunil Ragbirsingh was murdered last night. A man full of energy, full of Dharma, full of life, always smiling.”