Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that conducting the criminal case related to the killing of two fishermen by the Italian marines in a foolproof manner is the most important consideration before the State government right now.
He said that the Cabinet meeting that announced a relief of Rs. 5 lakh each to the families of the victims the day after their killing had also decided that the State government will take up the legal responsibility of fetching eligible compensation to both the families.
“But as of now the most important issue before the government is to ensure that the criminal case (on the shooting incident) is conducted in the best manner possible. Yes, the government is also determined to ensure that the Italian vessel pay compensation to the families at the appropriate time,” Mr. Chandy said.
He was talking at a meet-the-press organised by the Press Club in Kochi on Saturday.
Mr. Chandy said that the apprehensions raised by the media soon after the firing incident that the culprits and the vessel involved will go scot-free have proved baseless. He admitted to a slip of the tongue during a media interaction when he declared under pressure that the Italian accused will be arrested in a day or two. “I should not have said that then. Now, the Italian media has made that statement a big issue,” he said.
During the discussions with the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura, the State government remained steadfast in its position that those who shot dead two innocent fishermen of this country should surrender themselves to the law of the land. The State government’s stand has the complete support of the Centre as well. The law will take its course, Mr. Chandy said.
Tamil Nadu authorities have been told that the State government will definitely pay the compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the fisherman hailing from that State. Besides they were also assured that the State government will also fight for both the victims in securing compensation to their families, he said.
Asked about not giving job to the victim from Tamil Nadu, Mr. Chandy said that his family hadn’t asked for job. Besides, he was also not sure as to whether it was possible to give a government job here to a person hailing from another State.
He said that the State government’s compensation of Rs. 5 lakh will reach the kin of the victim from Tamil Nadu after completion of due formalities. The amount will be handed over to the government of that State and it is for them to give it to the rightful claimants after verification, Mr. Chandy said.