It’s been 16 days since the James family lost their beloved infant Vivaan, and chose to keep his body in the Cooper Hospital morgue till his father Sunil James, who has been languishing in Togo for months, returned to perform his last rites. The family has now shifted the infant’s body to a private centre, and plan to complete the last rites soon, having all but given up hope for Sunil’s return to perform them.
Vivaan succumbed to septicaemia on December 2. Shortly after his death in Holy Spirit Hospital, the body was shifted to the mortuary in Cooper Hospital. Speaking to MiD DAY, Sunil’s brother-in-law Rakesh Maddapa said, “We did not want to continue keeping Vivaan’s body in the government-run morgue, as it has already been well over two weeks.
Though the staff at Cooper Hospital were cooperative, we did not want his body to stay in those conditions, and shifted him to a private centre for the next few days.” The James family is now planning to conduct the infant’s last rites without Sunil, as they are yet to receive any word from the Togo government.
“We will decide on Saturday whether we should go ahead with Vivaan’s funeral, as the date of Sunil’s return has not been declared yet,” said a dejected Rakesh. On Wednesday, the Indian ambassador to Ghana, H E Jeeva Sagar, met with the president of Togo to discuss the issue.
“We were informed that the president of Togo is aware of our case and has been periodically apprised by the Togolese embassy in Delhi. He assured Mr Sagar that he will do all that is possible to expedite Sunil’s release,” said Rakesh.
After tragedy struck the family, they refused to perform Vivaan’s last rites until Sunil returned. James had left Mumbai in the last week of April, on a four month contract with a UK based marine company, M/s Union Maritime. He then flew to Lagos, Africa where he took charge of the vessel MT Ocean Centurion. Pirates captured it shortly after that. Since then, he has been incarcerated in Togo, over possible links to the crime.