"I feel very bad that I wasn’t there when my wife needed me the most"
It was an emotional homecoming for Indian sailor Sunil James as he returned to Mumbai after five months in a Togo jail. But he faces a task more difficult than his incarceration: the funeral of his baby, Vivaan, who died earlier this month.
An emotionally overwhelmed Sunil broke down several times while speaking to the press. “I am relieved but as a father I have duties to perform,” he said, adding: “I feel very bad that I wasn’t there when my wife needed me the most. The jail term was coupled with grief and helplessness.”
Sunil now wants to keep his past aside and move on. “I don’t want to recount the horror I faced in Togo and let bygones be bygones. I want to move on. I am relieved the charges against me have been dropped. It just shows that I am innocent and was wrongly booked.”
Sunil is determined to continue sailing. “I have been a sailor for 17 years of my life and I will continue to do so. The incident hasn't deterred me from performing my job.”
His wife Aditi, who fought the battle against all odds, said she felt vindicated. “The dropping of the charges was a vindication of my faith. I knew that my husband can never do anything illegal,” she told The Hindu.
The family plans to perform the baby’s funeral on Sunday. “En-route from Delhi to Mumbai, Sunil and I hardly spoke. We both are sad and emotionally vulnerable right now. While I am relieved that he is back, the loss of our son overshadows the joy.”
In July this year, Mr. James, a Merchant Navy Captain of the vessel MT Ocean Centurion, was arrested by Togo authorities on charges of helping pirates who had attacked and looted his ship.