Mumbai: “Isn’t it unfair that within the span of a year, Kulbhushan was arrested and convicted by Pakistani authorities? The Indian government has given evidence against criminals like Dawood Ibrahim, and other terrorists. Why doesn’t Pakistan act against them in a similar manner?” asks Tulsidas Pawar, childhood friend of Indian national and former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was handed a death sentence by Pakistan on Monday for ‘espionage and sabotage’ activities in Balochistan and Karachi.
Kulbhushan grew up in the NM Joshi Marg in central Mumbai. His father worked for the Mumbai police. His childhood friend Pawar described the ex-Navy official turned businessman as a very energetic and sport-loving kid in school, “He completed his education from Ruia College; he loved playing football and cricket with us. He’d been our friend since childhood, as he used to live opposite my building, which has now become the crime branch office. He later moved from here, but always kept returning to meet his childhood friends.” Jadhav later moved to Andheri. He has two children and his aging parents reside in Powai.
‘Family needs him’
“We knew that Pakistan would ill-treat Kulbhushan and take unjustified actions against him. His family needs him and hence, there should be positive steps taken to bring him back,” said Pawar, who along with other friends started the ‘Bring Kulbhushan Back’ campaign after Kulbhushan’s arrest on March 3, 2016. Jadhav was held from Mashkel in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province in a counter-intelligence operation, for allegedly being involved in espionage and sabotage activities in the country.
Another childhood friend, Subroto Mukherjee told mid-day, “I have been his friend since we were 6-7 years old. The news of his arrest last year was shocking and now the news of his conviction is so disappointing for all of us. I haven’t been able to get in touch with his family since all of us are in a state of shock. We are hoping and expecting something positive in the coming days.”
Family to go to Delhi
As for Kulbhushan’s family, relatives have not stopped pouring in at his parents’ Powai residence. The entire family is in a state of shock and is not ready to speak to anyone. Some of the relatives were seen crying while entering the home. Heavy police presence has been deployed at the entry gate of their housing society.
According to sources, the family might leave for Delhi today to meet some officials from the Ministry of External Affairs regarding the death penalty awarded by the Pakistan court. Sources said the family owns a farmhouse built on a plot of land at Satara that they bought five years ago. However, none of them have visited the farmhouse, which is being looked after by a caretaker.