‘Prayers of 125 crore Indians have been answered,’ said well-wishers of the former naval officer who has been incarcerated by Pakistan.
All photographs: Sahil Salvi
Expressing relief over the International Court of Justice staying the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, his friends and well-wishers on Thursday celebrated the ruling by bursting fire crackers.
Fire crackers were burst by Jadhav’s friends in central Mumbai’s Lower Parel area and by his neighbours outside his Silver Oak apartment building in Powai area. A sizable crowd, which had gathered outside the building, shouted slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.
The Jadhav family used to stay on the fifth floor of the building. They have now moved out and their flat is locked, a neighbour said.
“The prayers of 125 crore Indians have been answered. We thank the ICJ for delivering such a welcome ruling,” said Tulshidas Pawar, Jadhav’s childhood friend.
Pawar along with his family members and other friends of Jadhav was glued to the television for the ICJ ruling. He said he was praying for a positive verdict at ICJ and was hopeful of his friend’s safe return to India.
Residents of Aanewadi village in Satara district, where Jadhav owns an acre of land, were elated after the ICJ ruling.
“This (ICJ ruling) is a good start. Now India must increase efforts to secure Jadhav’s release and bring him back home,” a villager said.
Pawar and other friends of Jadhav also organised a Ganesh Puja for a “favourable court verdict”.
Jadhav’s friends in the Prithvi Nandan Society in central Mumbai’s Lower Parel area, where the former navy officer grew up, performed the Puja on Thursday morning.
The group had also undertaken a signature campaign in a bid to put pressure on Pakistan to secure their friend’s release.
Several workers of a political party also joined locals in the celebrations outside Jadhav’s apartment by bursting crackers and distributing sweets.
“The international court has taken a good decision, we are very happy. He was an Indian and not a terrorist, so what Pakistan did was illegal,” said one of the workers.
“Now, the government should take steps to bring him home. The battle is not over yet as he is still in Pakistan. We are waiting for the day when he will be back with his family,” he said.
Reacting to the ICJ ruling, a US national, staying opposite the Silver Oak apartments said, “Anything between India and Pakistan escalates easily. If they kill him, it will become a national calamity.”
“My allegiance lies with India, I am happy to see all these celebrations. It is also good that the decision came from a third neutral party (the international court),” he said.
Jadhav had spent his early days in Parel and used to stay in the police quarters with his family.
After studying at King George School, Jadhav went to Ruia College, before joining the National Defence Academy at Khadakvasla in Pune.
The International Court of Justice on Thursday stayed the execution of Jadhav, who has been sentenced to death by a Pakistan military court on charges of espionage and subversive activities.
In a major boost to India, which has moved the United Nations highest judicial body against the death sentence, the ICJ instructed Pakistan to take all “necessary measures at its disposal” to ensure that Jadhav was not executed pending a final decision by it.
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