In a 40-minute meeting interrupted with tears of joy and sadness, Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mother Avanti and wife Chetna were able to communicate with him via a “telephone” as well as across a glass screen. This was their first meeting after he was arrested by Pakistani authorities on charges of espionage in March 2016 — India maintains he was kidnapped from Iran.
While initial greetings took place across the glass screen, Jadhav’s wife and mother were able to communicate with him mainly via a telephone. Sources said they spoke mostly in Marathi and Hindi. But before the meeting took place, the two women were thoroughly checked. They even had to remove hair clips since sharp objects were not allowed inside the meeting room.
Sources described the meeting between Jadhav and his mother and wife as an “emotional” one, interrupted by bouts of tears. They were watched by Fereha Bugti, Director (India) at the Pakistan Foreign Ministry. While Avanti did most of the talking, wife Chetna broke down a few times. Pakistani officials kept a box of tissues, which “was used” during the conversation.
Sources said Jadhav told his family members that it was “nice to see them”, and inquired about his father’s health. He said he would have liked to see his father as well. Jadhav “looked tired” — this was the initial impression of his wife and mother. The meeting went off “quite well”, as per the initial Indian assessment on the conversation that took place. He apparently told his family that he “was treated” as per Pakistani laws.
Sources said Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh, who was separated from the family members by another glass partition, could hardly hear anything and could only watch Jadhav’s mannerisms.
The family members and Singh left their mobile phones at the Indian High Commission. The two women will be brought to Delhi for a debriefing. They were in Delhi before the meeting as well.
After the meeting, J P Singh appeared angry over the delay in the arrival of their car since many outside hurled taunts at Avanti, calling her a “terrorists’ mother”.
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The Indian government, meanwhile, is in the process of contacting German doctor, Dr Uwe Johannes Nellessen, who conducted the medical check-up of Jadhav on December 22 in Islamabad. He is a specialist orthopaedic surgeon at the Saudi German Hospital in Dubai.