Kulbhushan Jadhav’s uncle struck a cautionary note even as his friends began celebrations in the NM Joshi area in central Mumbai where he spent his childhood. Speaking over phone to The Indian Express, retired ACP Subhash Jadhav said, “While we are happy with the efforts put in by the Indian government, we want to see Kulbhushan come out alive from Pakistan. Till that does not happen, the fear will remain.”
The mood at the Pruthvi Chandan building, where Kulbhushan stayed earlier, was, however, celebratory. Balloons were being released in the air, sweets being distributed and chants of ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ echoed. “I strongly believe that prayers of the countrymen helped swing the decision in our favour. We know people across the country had been praying in temples and mosques for his release,” said Arvind Singh, a childhood friend of Kulbhushan.
Ball in its court, pressure on Pak
Granting consular access and legal help to Kulbhushan Jadhav is low-hanging fruit which Delhi can pluck from the verdict. The court steered clear of adjudicating on charges against Jadhav and didn’t set him free. It has called for a review but has left it to Pak to decide how. It’s upon Pak to show if it follows a process that’s fair — and seen to be fair in tune with the verdict.
Singh said, “Pakistan has been exposed and they have a chance to redeem themselves. They should release him at the earliest.” Another friend Sunil Singh said, “See, we knew we were speaking the truth and hence we were prepared to celebrate. We had called for balloons, sweets and also wanted to release pigeons. However, we could not arrange for the latter. It is an international court and there was no chance they would give a wrong judgment.”
Vandana Pawar, another friend, however, said while the decision was good, she feared if Pakistan would actually accept the decision. “Till the time we don’t see him, there will be some fear.”
Earlier, the friends wearing white t-shirts with ‘Justice for Kulbhushan’ emblazoned across it, performed Aarti twice during the day. They had arranged for a TV set so that they could watch the judgment together.