*** UPDATE: Sept 17, 2010: Middlesex Family Court allowed to prosecute the five Juveniles as adults at Middlesex County superior Court in New Brunswick. Go to Media section for Press Coverage. ***
Fox News Coverage and detailed Account of what happened.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Dr. Divyendu Sinha was a brilliant technocrat who earned his B. Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stevens Institute of Technology. He was working for Siemens corporation (see more details under his bio).
Divyenduji, his wife Alkabahen and children, Ashish (16 years) and Ravi (12 years) had stepped out of their home to take a late night stroll on Friday, June 25 in a perfectly safe neighborhood where they have lived for sixteen years. This is a neighborhood where people do not lock front doors and cars are left unlocked in driveways. As they were returning back and were near their home around mid night, a car full of five teenagers (two Caucasians, three African Americans) pulled up; the driver stayed in the car and rest of them came from behind and attacked Divyenduji and his two sons. He was hit on the temple, he fell down and hit his head on the pavement. The attacker(s) continued to kick him on the head and neck. After the attack they escaped in the car. Divyenduji was able to get up so they tried to walk him to their home. However, after walking a few yards, he collapsed. At that point his son ran to nearby house and the neighbor came out and called 911. He was transported to nearby Raritan Bay Hospital. At that time (around 12:30 A. M.) he was able to answer questions like his name, birth date, etc. though his speech had begun to slur. He could not raise his left hand but was able to raise right hand . Soon after he became unconscious and by 4:00 A. M. he was transferred to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick. This hospital has excellent reputation. The children had bruises, swollen jaw, neck pain, etc. but they were treated at the hospital and released.
According to the neurosurgeon who briefed us, by the time Divyenduji reached there, damage was done. There was severe cranial bleeding in the brain and brain had swelled so much that it had compressed brain stem which had affected all vital functions adversely. The brain had also shifted because of tremendous pressure within the enclosed chamber. According to the doctor, the compression of the stem is an irreversible process. One thing that was disturbing was that this surgeon had not looked at the reports from the first hospital and was not even sure if the reports and scans had accompanied the patient. He was not even aware of the fact that Divyenduji had been beaten up. He said that the bleeding had a pattern of a stroke but when we asked pointed questions, he admitted that the stroke was likely the result of the beating and trauma caused by it. VHPA volunteers from Staten Island and New Jersey chapters as well Divyenduji’s neighbors and friends had reached the hospital and were there throughout the two and a half day ordeal. Dr. Ila Sukhadia, President of Staten Island Chapter insisted on receiving a copy of all CATscans and having received them shared it with three outside specialists. Sadly, they concurred with the diagnosis that nothing could be done to save Divyendubhai’s life. Divyendubhai’s younger brother, Purnendu and Alkabahen’s younger brother, Alok were able to catch a flight out of Bharat upon receiving the news and reached the hospital on Saturday afternoon. While Divyendyji remained on life support, we all hoped for a miracle and continued to do chanting and prayers in his ICU room.
On Sunday, the doctors advised that they would be doing two tests, six hours apart to check if the brain was sending any signals. If results were negative than they would declare that the life had ended and the life support could not longer be maintained. First test was done at 9:00 P.M. and the results were disappointing. Second test was carried out at 3:00 A. M. on Monday and at 4:00 A. M. Doctors declared that Diveyenduji life had ended. Thus all our hopes against hope were dashed. A life was snuffed out needlessly at prime age of 49.
The family decided to donate his kidneys so life support was continued. Finally at 4:30 P. M. on Monday, June 28, family and friends gathered around Divyenduji, lighted a lamp, put Gangajal and Tulsipatra in his mouth and amid chanting and recitation of sacred mantras, the body was moved to Operation room.
The funeral was held on June 30, at Franklin Memorial Park.
(The above information was taken from the account of family friend and community activist Gaurang Vaishnav who was close to the family throughout the tragic incident. He is executive VP of VHP America).
A touching account of the Funeral (on June 30, 2010) from a visitor along with appeal to community to help the family
Few hours ago my family visited Divyendu Sinha’s funeral. We saw many hundreds of people across the cross section of races whose lives Divyendu and his family touched.
It was heart breaking to see his wife and two teenage sons who lost their loved one in a senseless attack. What is tragic is they have to bear the loss with the images of the the brutal attack done in front of their eyes, for no reason, no provocation while they tried to stop helplessly.
Those who came up and gave eulogies are from the cross sections, from his past PhD student who said how he used to enjoy Indian food at their home, to his manager at Siemens who could not control his grief and sorrow and pledged to do his best to see the family through, to the faculty member at College of Staten Island who want to start a scholarship (or funding) program in his name and many friends who accounted their memories and his scholarship. The priest who conducted the ceremony has done a great job of informing the ceremony procedure to those who are not acquainted.
Though this loss is primarily to his family and to his close relatives and friends, but it is also that of larger community. If one family is insecure, it is insecurity for all of us. It could be anyone of us. We do not know the motives of those who attacked, it could be racial, it could be first easy target they found to perpetrate their gruesome violence and perhaps Indian Americans in their view are easy targets. The bigger issue is whether the administration will handle this fairly. Given the past history, such as family of Geetha Angara from Holmdel, NJ who was brutally murdered at work place is still waiting for justice even after more than five years shows it is imperative that community come together to bring justice.
What next? While we are attentive to this now, it cannot be a matter of first few days. The family has to continue and they would need support, emotionally, financially and legally. The family has to go on and there are two teenagers who needs to go to college. (Please see the website https://justicefordivyendufamily.wordpress.com/how-you-can-help/ ). We have to ensure that justice is done to the family and community can play a big role in showing support. Many times these cases are diluted with the affected getting little support in the end. This case has to be pursued effectively in both criminal and civil courts. The civil courts have to pursued to ensure that the family is compensated adequately for the loss of sole incoming member of the family.
In helping them we are helping ourselves. We have to come together as a community and be their larger family.
Note: Please visit the page, ‘How you can help‘ for various steps you can take to help the family.