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ARMLESS VEERA ROBBED

By Cecily Asson Saturday, August 6 2011

click on pic to zoom in

“What type of person walks up to someone without arms, sticks their hands in her pocket and steals her money?”

Attorney-at-law Veera Bhajan, 22, who was born without arms was reacting to an incident in which she was robbed of just over $100 in cash on Tuesday in Chaguanas.

Moments after the incident Veera confronted the thief in a nearby store to demand why he had robbed her. She said he “just walked away fast and disappeared into the crowd.”

Veera is the holder of a Humming Bird (silver) National Award for her achievements and is an attorney in the office of the Solicitor General.

The cash, a police report said, was stolen from Veera’s right front jacket pocket while she was walking in the busy central shopping centre. She is now working closely with investigators to find the perpetrator.

Yesterday, Veera visited the Criminal Investigation Department, Port-of-Spain where she officially made a report. While she did not report the incident when it happened, she told her relatives and it was made public when she discussed it on her Facebook page.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Fitzroy Frederick has confirmed the incident and yesterday assured Newsday that the matter was being investigated as officers are pursuing certain leads. Investigators have since been given a full description of the suspect, Frederick told Newsday.

Frederick said, “I have spoken to her and the matter has been reported to Port-of-Spain and it will be transferred to Chaguanas. An investigation has been launched into the incident.”

Veera said she was with her cousin Asha Bhajan on her way home from work around 5 pm on Tuesday in the vicinity of the gas station on the Chaguanas Main Road, when she observed a male pedestrian approaching. The area she said was not very crowded and when he passed her, he bumped into her. She said she felt a discomfort in her right front jacket pocket. She said, “I knew something was wrong and immediately told Asha that the man who just passed us had put his hand in my pocket. When she checked, just a little over $100 was missing.” A woman who was walking behind the cousins also observed what had happened and confirmed that Veera had been robbed.

“I looked back and there was the man also looking back at me quite suspiciously,” Veera added.

With no police officers in sight, Veera, accompanied by her cousins and the unidentified witness, threw her fears aside and followed the suspect into a store as he tried to escape.

“I confronted him and demanded from him to tell me why he took my money,” Veera told Newsday.

“He looked in a state of shock. I asked again and he did not answer. All this time I still was looking to see if there was any security or anyone could help us catch this thief. All he responded was ‘Who me?’ and then walked quickly out of the store and disappeared.”

On her Facebook page Veera asked, “What type of person walks up to someone without arms, sticks their hands in her pocket and steals her money?”

“God will punish that robber,” Veera said even as she promised to pray for him. The incident has left Veera infuriated and she openly vented her anger on the social network site. The attack, she told friends, has left her feeling “violated.” And she has now decided to use direct transport to and from work. Veera added, “I think I need anger management classes...lol (laugh out loud). I wanted to kill him so badly but I’m fine now.”

Speaking to Newsday yesterday from her office, Veera said she has become scared to walk the road and even to travel home since the incident.

“I was never really scared before but now that it has actually hit home I am worried,”she told Newsday. “I am always alert but now I have to look over my shoulder, behind me in front of me. This is where we have reached and it is very disturbing.”

Veera said that not only did she feel violated but that she felt a “great sense of injustice” against her. “He knew what he did and that is why as he walked away he kept peeping back at me. I knew it was him and I will work with the investigators to catch him. I got a good look at him.”

Veera, of Cacandee Road, Felicity in Chaguanas shot into the headlines because of her rare disability and her unwavering determination to succeed at her academics. She attended St Augustine Girls’ High School where she attained seven CXC passes and four CAPE passes and later got a scholarship to study law. In 2009, Bhajan graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) with her Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB) after one year at the St Augustine campus and two years at Cave Hill campus in Barbados.

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