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On dead son's first birthday, sailor's fate still uncertain

Incarcerated sailor Sunil James’ son Vivaan would have been celebrating his first birthday today. Instead, his body lies in a mortuary, in what is turning out to be a long, uncertain wait for the arrival of his father to return and perform his last rites. While the Togo court takes its time to deliver a judgment, hope is gradually fading for the family.


It is Vivaan’s first birthday today. The infant succumbed to septicaemia on December 2

Rakesh Madappa, Sunil’s brother-in-law, said, “Aditi asked me yesterday if we can celebrate Vivaan’s birthday today. How do I tell her that she can’t celebrate his birthday when he isn’t with us anymore? Happy birthday, Vivaan, wherever you are now. Your family misses you.” The family has not decided on whether to visit Cooper Hospital morgue to see Vivaan, who is tagged in box number 7 of the cold storage. Their greatest concern is that the embalming done to keep his body fresh would lose its effectivity, as time passes.


Meanwhile, Sunil James’ grieving family met with the Prime Minister on Tuesday to urge him to try and secure the sailor’s release

Satish Sakleshpur, second secretary of the Indian High Commission in Ghana, who is stationed in Lome now, was in court for nearly four hours, but could not be reached for comment. Meanwhile, a senior official from the Union Shipping ministry told MiD DAY, “The court heard the final argument, which went on for a few hours, and finally put its decision on hold for the next two days.

This means that the question of James’ release gets delayed until the court pronounces its order on Friday.” A senior official from the Indian High Commission in Ghana said, “The highest office from India had even contacted the Togo government, but since it is a matter of judicial process, only the court can decide on the case.” 

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