Jailed sailor Sunil James' family meets Prime Minister
The family members of merchant navy captain Sunil James, jailed in Togo, today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his early release to conduct the last rites of his 11-month-old son who died recently.
Captain James' wife Aditi and her sister Anvi accompanied by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam met the Prime Minister in his Parliament House office.
Captain James of oil tanker MT Ocean Centurian was arrested in July on charges of aiding pirates off the coast of Togo. "He was arrested for aiding pirates. But the fact is that he gave a tip off to authorities on the presence of pirates," Nirupam told reporters outside Parliament House.
After the meeting, Anvi's husband Rakesh Mahadappa said the Prime Minister informed the family that his office is "doing everything possible to secure either a full and final release of Sunil or, on humanitarian grounds at least, a pardon or relief for a few weeks so that he could come back to India to perform his duties as a father to bury his son."
He said Singh has also deputed a Joint Secretary in the PMO, Javed Ashraf, to help manage the captain's release.
Nirupam said he is hopeful that a solution will be found in the next few days. "The matter is now being handled at the highest level. The PM gave us a patient hearing...since we do have an embassy or High Commission in Togo, our High Commissioner to Ghana is making diplomatic efforts to secure his release," Nirupam, MP from Mumbai (North) said.
James' 11-month-old son died of septicemia in a hospital on December 2. The body of the toddler has been kept at a Mumbai hospital.