Italian marines issue: MPs slam Rome, victim's kin cry foul

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Italian marines
New Delhi, Mar 12: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has slammed the Italian government for protecting the two marines who were supposed to be tried for murder in India. Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre shot dead a couple of Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in Feb 2012.

Reacting to Rome's official communication to Delhi on Monday evening that the marines will not be coming back to India to face trial here, Singh described Italy's decision as "unacceptable". The prime minister was speaking after opposition MPs accused the ruling UPA of conspiring with the Italian government.

BJP leader Balbir Punj demanded to know why the Indian government is going soft on Girone and Latore. "They were arrested and the fact almost completely proven. These two are criminals who are being protected by Indian government in collusion with Italians," he noted.

Punj said that the BJP will raise the issue in Parliament. "We are definitely going to bring this up and take it to a logical conclusion and expose the collusion between the Indian and Italian government," he added.

Left MPs also protested strongly and said that the Question Hour must be suspended in order to enable them to highlight the "huge conspiracy" behind Rome's move to save the marines from murder charges.

Latore and Girone were part of the Italian security detachment on board the ship MV Enrica Lexie. The duo opened fire when a fishing trawler Saint Antony neared the ship around 4.30 p.m on Feb 15, 2012.

Two fishermen Ajesh Binki and Valentine aka Gelastine died in the firing. Claiming that the incident happened in international waters, Italy argued that the matter is beyond the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

Gelastine's widow Dora has urged the UPA government to ensure that Girone and Latore are brought back "to stand trial in the case in our country." Lamenting that she is being denied justice, she stressed: "This should not happen to any other family."

Fishermen in Kerala have threatened to burn the effigies of the two marines outside the state Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. They said that they are feeling cheated by the government and the judiciary.

On the basis of an undertaking given by Rome, the Supreme Court had recently allowed Latore and Girone to go back to their hometowns in Italy so that they could cast vote in the local elections.

OneIndia News

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