Jailed sailor’s family pins hope on PM

The sailor’s family is waiting for him to perform the last rites of his son,who died on December 2.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 11, 2013 12:11 am

The family of Sunil James jailed by Togo authorities is pinning all hope on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance to see he is released.

The sailor’s family is waiting for him to perform the last rites of his son,who died on December 2,ten days before his first birthday,after he developed an infection. “Sunil’s only hope for survival there was Vivaan — that once he returns he will be able to spend time with his son,play with him,” said Aditi. When he had left Aditi and Vivaan in Mumbai he had assured her he will be back in August. But Aditi received a call from James in July informing them of his arrest after pirates looted MT Ocean Centurion he had been captaining,near the West African country. They suspected he had aided the pirates.

His wife,sister-in-law and brother-in-law met the PM Tuesday morning. “We were assured by the PM that they will make every effort to ensure his release,” Aditi said.

“I have approached the Director General of Shipping,the Ministry of External Affairs. I met them personally during the last couple of months. All of them told me to ‘have patience’,no concrete steps have been taken so far,” Aditi added. Getting no respite,Aditi’s brother-in-law Rakesh Madappa decided to go to Togo in September.

They met the PM in the morning. “The PM has assured James’s family all possible help is being given. The High Commission in Ghana — since Togo does not have one — is providing counsel to James. We hope that in a day or two,James will be released from jail either on bail or acquitted,” said Sanjay Nirupam,Congress MP.

The family feels the government needs to act quickly. “The most important thing right now is time. The Indian authorities need to act quickly. I feel scared for my sister. Vivaan has left her. What will happen to her if Sunil does not come back,” said Avni.

“Both of us are in shock. My son’s health deteriorated within 24 hours. A surgery was performed after he developed an infection but he could not be saved. Everything has fallen apart now,” she said.

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