The stay on the execution of former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav by the International Court of Justice was welcomed with both hope and jubilation by his family and friends in Mumbai.
Kulbhushan, who used to stay with his family in Powai, was arrested by the Pakistan military in March last year on espionage charge. The Government of India has since then been trying to free him. However, in April this year, he was sentenced to death.
Speaking to The Hindu , Jadhav's uncle, retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Subhash Jadhav said, “We just want our child back. There is really nothing to say beyond that. The decision comes as a ray of hope and we are all, as a family, standing united with Kulbhushan.”
Father, mother in Delhi
Kulbhushan's father, Sudhir Jadhav, who also retired as an ACP with the Mumbai Police, is reportedly in Delhi with his wife, following up with the Central government on the next steps in the process of securing his son's release.
Kulbhushan's friends, who stay in Lower Parel, as well as residents of Powai, welcomed the news of the stay on his execution with elation and expressed their happiness over the fact that there had been at least one positive step.
“We learned about the news late on Tuesday night and could hardly believe it. The first thing we did this morning was to get together and distribute sweets in the area. Finally, there is some indication that we will see our friend again,” said Kulbhushan’s childhood friend Tulsidas Pawar, who had started a signature campaign demanding that Kulbhushan be brought home as soon as possible. The two men grew up in the same area till the Jadhavs shifted to Powai.
‘A beginning made’
“I had recently heard from Kulbhushan’s family. They had sent us a message through some mutual friends saying that they found our effort to be a source of support, and urged us to keep up the good work. I had promised them that I would not give up. I am sure that now that a beginning has been made, the truth will prevail,” Mr. Pawar said.
Residents of the Hiranandani area too came together outside the Silver Oak building where the Jadhavs stay and distributed sweets. The residents had come together to form a human chain outside the buidling in a peaceful protest demanding Kulbhushan's release.
“Since the time he was arrested, he has been out of reach. The Indian government wanted consular access but he was deprived of it. Finally, the Ministry of External Affairs took the matter to the International court and now a fair trial will begin,” said ex-Indian Air Force officer Sudhir Shetty, who lives in the area.