BJP demands Centre clarify statements on Italian vessel issue

New Delhi, Apr 22: The BJP, on Saturday, Apr 21, demanded clarification from the Centre on Additional Solicitor General's contention that the Italian ship involved in killing of two fishermen should not have been detained, which has been contradicted by Shipping and External Affairs Ministries.

"The two fishermen from Kerala were killed by the Italian marines. The Additional Solicitor General and the Standing Counsel have said the Italian ship was in international waters and it could not be detained. Now the Kerala government is saying this is neither the Centre's nor the state's view," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.

The BJP demanded that the government clarify its position on the issue of shooting by two Italian marines who were on board the tanker, Enrica Lexie.

Javadekar hit out at Shipping Minister G K Vasan and Food Minister K V Thomas, saying they are trying "to save" the Centre and the Kerala government on the issue.

"Vasan maintains they had not given the brief to the Standing Counsel. First, one Ramesh Babu was Standing Counsel, now he has been replaced by M T George. Cardinal George Alencherry has made statements on the issue," Javadekar said.

Asked if the BJP suspects that the Church is "manipulating" the issue, he replied in the negative.

"The issue here is that a crime has been committed against Indians. We condemn the incident. The families of the fishermen should be given justice. The crime was committed against Indians here and not in Somalia. We should worry about India not Italy while living here," Javadekar said.

He demanded that appropriate action should be taken in the matter and though good relations with Italy are important, it should not be expense of justice.


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