FRIENDS of Kulbhushan Jadhav, the Indian national lodged in Pakistan jail on espionage charges, are planning to organise a bike rally and a candle march on Sunday in support of Jadhav. On Wednesday, Pakistan granted visa to Jadhav’s mother and wife for their visit on December 25. The bike rally will start at Lower Parel, where Jadhav spent his childhood, and circumvent Worli seaface before returning.
“The rally is in support of Jadhav with a prayer to the Indian government to continue with their efforts to bring back Jadhav. We all want Jadhav to return safely,” said Tulsidas Pawar, Jadhav’s childhood friend who is spearheading the initiative.
“Many people are not aware of the case. They don’t know on what charges Jadhav is being tried in Pakistan. The aim of the rally and the candle march is to spread awareness about the case and also to support Jadhav and his family to get justice,” said Arvind Singh, another childhood friend of Jadhav. “We are in touch with Jadhav’s family… we thought that a day before Jadhav’s mother and wife meet him, we should carry out the rally as a mark of solidarity and unflinching support to our friend, who is like a brother to us,” added Singh.
“On Wednesday, we wrote to the Mumbai Police seeking permission for the rally and a candle march. While the police have granted us permission, we have to now get a no objection certificate from the traffic department,” added Pawar. Jadhav’s friends say around 50 bikers are likely to participate in the rally and over 100 in the candle march.
“So far, the government has done a commendable job in handling the matter. Be it approaching the International Court of Justice or getting the family to meet Jadhav, our government has been aggressive in its stand… We want that the government should continue with the same steam and even seek help from the international community in ensuring justice to Jadhav…,” said Pawar.
“The Pakistani officials tweet on Thursday that Jadhav does not face any immediate threat of execution came a huge sigh of relief for us,” said Singh.
Meanwhile, family members of Jadhav told The Indian Express that his wife and mother will reach Delhi on December 24. “We are not yet clear in which part of Pakistan the meeting is scheduled. I think the clarity will come close to the meet. The meeting is shrouded by secrecy as there are security concerns,” said a family source.
On April 26, weeks after the Pakistani Military court awarded death sentence to Jadhav on espionage charges, Jadhav’s mother filed an appeal under Section 133 (B) and a petition to the Federal Government of Pakistan under Section 131 of the Pakistan Army Act, 1952. The appeal and the petition were handed over to the Pakistan government by the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad. On April 25, Jadhav’s family members applied for Pakistani visas through the offices of the MEA.
In the past, Pakistan had rejected the request to grant consular access on 18 occasions. India has sought a sovereign guarantee from Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of Jadhav’s family when they visit Pakistan.