Friends Honor Man Pushed in Front of 7 Train with Hindu Service
EAST ELMHURST — The mourners called out to God in Bengali — begging him to protect the man who was pushed to his death in front of the 7 train last week.
Friends of Sunando Sen gathered at St. Michael's Cemetery at 7202 Astoria Blvd. on Monday to honor the 46-year-old Woodside man less than a week after he was allegedly attacked by a woman who told police she wanted to harm Hindus and Muslims.
Erika Menendez, 31, was charged with a hate crime because she allegedly told police she pushed Sen because "I hate Hindus and Muslims," according to the Queens District Attorney's office.
Those gathered at Sen's traditional Hindu memorial service said they want prosecutors to take action against Menendez — who was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after she laughed during her arraignment.
"We want justice," said Mohammed Rahman, 34.
Chanting "hare hare, Krishna Krisna" and clapping, Sen's friends burned patchouli incense Monday and placed bananas and rice in the casket, before pouring milk and yogurt into the flower-filled coffin.
The traditional Hindu funeral rite was intended to provide Sen with all the items he needed for his travels to the next world, friends explained. Still chanting, those close to Sen then helped push the casket into the cremation oven, tossing incense into the growing flames before cemetery employees closed the gate.
Sen, an immigrant from India who had recently opened his own business on the Upper West Side, had no immediate family in the country, a friend told DNAinfo.
Sen's longtime roommate, 44-year-old Sanjeeb Das, described Sen as a "computer genius" who owned nearly 1,000 books.
"Any problem with the computer, he was the guy you'd call to fix it," Das said.
Sen studied economics at New York University several years ago, Das said.
Sen had a "reserved" character and was remembered as being introverted but extremely kind, Das said.
Friends said he was an avid movie buff.
"He would rent three, four movies every weekend. All weekend he'd sleep in bed and watch movies," Das said.