According to news reports, the Indian government, which has been roaring at Italy accusing it of breaching trust, is completely clueless about the Indian prisoners in Italy and even do not know the reasons behind their detention.
When a question was raised on this issue in the Rajya Sabha three years ago, the Indian government had said that the Italian authorities maintains high level of privacy about prison affairs and did not inform New Delhi about the Indian prisoners despite requests. The scenario seems to have remained unchanged as the number of prisoners in Italian jails have remained the same, as per the information provided by foreign minister Salman Khurshid in the Upper House in November last year.
Legal experts have taken a dig at the Indian government for such handling of the issue. One lawyer said it was not surprising that New Delhi allowed itself to be duped by the Italians for it has given up hope on its own citizens too after the latter refused to share information. New Delhi should have asked the embassy in Italy to find out the details and follow up the cases.
While the Indian embassy in Rome did not respond on the issue, sources in the Indian community in the European country said the embassy hardly takes up cases of detention of Indian nationals with the Italian authorities. It all rests on the persons concerned to arrange for their own defence.
Sources said majority of the Indian prisoners have been booked for crimes like illegal entry, violence, theft and murder. Most of these people were learnt to be agricultural labourers from Punjab. It was said that the exact number of Indian prisoners was difficult to know but it could be around 600-700.