When Aditi James decided to wait for her imprisoned husband, Captain Sunil James, to return from Togo for the last rites of their 11-month-old son, little did she know her wait would be this long.
“As soon as Vivaan’s (their son) surgery was scheduled, we requested the shipping company to work out a way to bring Sunil to India. I thought the process would take just a day or two,” said Aditi, while speaking to dna at her Malad home.
Facing a double tragedy, Aditi, 31, after days of mourning her son’s death, has decided to pick up the pieces and fight. “All these days, I was too shaken by my son’s death, but now, I am going to fight till the end to bring my husband back. From past experiences, I have realised that the government is not going to do anything until it’s pressured to act,” she said.
“If even the prime minister’s intervention does not bring my husband back, we have a bigger problem as a nation,” she added.
While the family is working together to do all it takes to bring him back, Aditi is worried about how he is dealing with the ordeal. “When I was in a state of shock (after Vivaan’s death) I had my entire family standing by me... but he is all alone there. We don’t know what he must be going through,” she said.
Sunil and two others have been under arrest in the West African country since July 2013 on the charge of aiding pirates loot the Marshall Islands’ MT Ocean Centurion. The sailor’s family had approached the Togo government to let him travel to India for the funeral but there has no respite yet.
Vivaan died on December 2 due to septicaemia. His body is lying in Cooper hospital morgue ever since. “Everything was over within just 36 hours. Sunil did not get a chance to meet Vivaan but we wanted to wait for him to perform the last rites. We cannot deny him that,” Aditi said.
Family members, accompanied by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, on Tuesday met prime minister Manmohan Singh who assured them that the government is making the best efforts to secure Sunil’s release. However, Aditi is not entirely convinced.
“We had approached the government earlier but were let down. Why does the government have to wait for such a tragedy?” Aditi asked. Echoing her sentiments, her brother-in-law, Rakesh Madappa, said, “The PMO communicated to us this morning that it’s doing all it can, but it hasn’t given us a date by when we can expect him back.”
The Togo court was scheduled to hear the case again on Wednesday but the family is yet to get an update. “The case was heard on Monday and Tuesday and the court was likely to hear it on Wednesday too and make a decision, but we are yet to hear from our lawyer in Togo,” said Madappa.