While a battery of legal luminaries worked hard for former naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav at The Hague, his friends did their bit back home in Mumbai -- with prayers seeking a favourable verdict from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Tulshidas Pawar, Jadhav's childhood friend, and others organised a Ganesh Puja here, offering prayers for his life.
Hours later, the court at The Hague had given its verdict -- staying Jadhav's execution by Pakistan. "I was there when Kulbhushan filled up the entrance exam form for the National Defence Academy, which he eventually joined. I also attended his Passing Out Parade at the NDA," Pawar told PTI. Jadhav's friends in the Prithvi Nandan Society in central Mumbai's Lower Parel area, where he grew up, began the Ganesh puja in the morning. The puja was performed in an apartment block located close to the N M Joshi Marg police station, in the heart of the financial capital's erstwhile mill district. Jadhav, who was held guilty of espionage by a Pakistan military court, spent his early days in Parel and used to live in the police quarters with his family. The family moved out of Lower Parel in 1998. "The Pawar and Jadhav families share close ties," Pawar's wife, Vandana, who got acquainted to Jadhav after her marriage, said. Friends of Jadhav had also undertaken a signature campaign in a bid to put pressure on Pakistan to secure his release. After studying at King George School, Jadhav went to the Ruia College here, before joining the NDA at Khadakvasla in Pune. The ICJ's verdict came 10 days after India approached it, demanding the immediate suspension of the capital punishment given to the ex-Navy officer.