Shastri Boodan

Filled with sadness, scores of people gathered on Thursday night at the Cunupia Market to offer prayers for the soul of Andrea Bharatt and others who have gone missing.

Religious leaders joined in the call for justice and an end to crimes against women. The vigil was hosted by Chaguanas East MP Vandana Mohit. Orisha Preist Baba Addelon Braveboy summoned the powers of the Orishas to rain justice on those who commit crimes against women in T&T. Braveboy, who is also known as Banjela in soca circles, told the gathering “I pray for justice against every crime committed against women at this time. I call upon the Orisha of justice, Chango, you are the Orisha of justice. I call upon presence with lightning to strike upon the heads of the enemies, those that are disrespecting our women today.”

Baba Braveboy called on the spirits to remove all negative influences plaguing T&T.

Pentecostal Pastor Dale Des Vignes called on the community to stop remaining silent and speak out when they see criminal activities in their communities.

Pundit Ravindranath Maharaj said he felt a deep pain for Andrea’s loss when the bad news was delivered earlier on Thursday. Maharaj said her sacrifice was not in vain and has brought the nation together in prayer.

He said “She sacrificed her life for all of us to bring us together in unity, love and togetherness.” The pundit said a special prayer service was held at his Chaguanas temple last Tuesday for Andrea. However, he said Hindu astrology showed that she would not have been found alive. He said people must strive towards becoming more human by fighting off the evil forces of lust, greed, anger, hatred, attachment and arrogance. He also pleaded with women not to dress in a manner that would evoke lustful feelings in men.

Imam Imtiaz Ali spoke with a heavy emotional tone in his voice. The Imam called on men to look out for their womenfolk in society. Ali said “ My heart bled today when I heard that news. I said hope when the guy said we will cut off her ears and send it for you, I said it was grand charge. When I heard that news today, that could have been my granddaughter, that could be some one of us daughters. I can’t put myself in that father’s shoes right now.”

He said persons seeking to kidnap should instead get a job or even beg rather than cause grief in the lives of others.

Mohit said she was very distressed. She said society has degenerated to the point when a person goes missing families are now worried about if they would find their bodies or not.