Narendra Modi demands return of Italian marines to India

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Narendra Modi
Ahmedabad, Mar 13: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that Italy must send back its marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre who shot dead two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in Feb last year to India.

Urging the Centre to put pressure on Rome in this regard, he took to Twitter to stress that "On the issue of Italian Marines, nothing short of their return to India must be the acceptable outcome."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already stated that Italy's decision to protect the marines from murder charges in India is "unacceptable". Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai conveyed the same message to Italian envoy Daniele Mancini at the South Block in New Delhi on Tuesday.

"We summoned the ambassador of Italy. I summoned him to my office and basically what I told him is that the contents of note, which was given to us conveying the position of the government of Italy regarding the two marines is not acceptable to us," Mathai said.

In an official communication on Monday, Rome said that Girone and Latorre will not come to India to face trial for the shooting incident in the Arabian Sea on Feb 15, 2012.

The Supreme Court had allowed the marines to go to their country to exercise their francise in the Italian elections. The apex court granted the permission after Daniele Mancini gave an undertaling that Latorre and Girone would return to Delhi by Mar 24.

However, the Italian foreign ministry made an about turn two days ago and averred that the duo cannot be tried by Indian courts as the victims were killed in international waters.

Both Gelastine aka Valentine and Ajesh Binki received bullet injuries when the marines serving on MV Enrica Lexie opened fire after the fishing trawler Saint Antony drifted near the Italian ship. Claiming to have mistaken the fishermen for pirates, Girone and Latorre said that they merely fired warning shots.

Now the main point of contention is whether Rome will honour its commitment to the Supreme Court. Mathai cited Mancini's undertaking and noted: "As far as we are concerned, Italy is obliged under the terms of that assurance to ensure that the two marines return in the time frame given by the Supreme Court. Basically that is the position I took in the meeting I had when I summoned the ambassador of Italy a little while ago," he said on Tuesday evening.

OneIndia News

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