Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is said to have assured Kerala MPs that India will do everything possible to bring the two marines back from Italy to stand trial for killing two fishermen in February 2012.
He is also said to have told a delegation, which called on him on Tuesday, that the Centre shared the sentiments of Kerala people, who were agitated over Italy’s refusal to send Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone back to India, after they had taken part in the general election held in the country on February 24 and 25.
The Congress’ P.C. Chacko, who led the delegation, told The Hindu that the Prime Minister assured the MPs that he would speak to External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. He came to know about Italy’s decision only through the media, Dr. Singh told Mr. Chacko.
The delegation told Dr. Singh that Italy’s decision came as a shock to the people of Kerala as the marines had violated the orders of the Supreme Court, which allowed them to visit home under strict conditions.
Meanwhile, Indian Union Muslim League MP and Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told this correspondent that it was made clear to the Italian Ambassador, who held discussions with Indian officials, that Rome’s decision was unacceptable.
When the Ambassador said the two countries could hold diplomatic discussions, “we clearly asked them to first honour the assurance given to the court and send back the marines for facing trial. The rest of the issues can be sorted out later,”
While MPs of the constituents of the ruling United Democratic Front in Kerala joined the Chacko-led delegation, those belonging to the Left Democratic Front met Dr. Singh separately.
Chandy rushes to Delhi
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who rushed to Delhi on Tuesday night, is expected to hold talks with Mr. Khurshid, and, if possible, with Dr. Singh on Wednesday. He is also likely to meet senior lawyers to discuss how the State could proceed further legally.
Keywords: Indian fishermen killing, Italian marines case, Oomen Chandy reaction, Italy refusal, Enrica Lexie, Supreme Court judgment, India-Italy ties, U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, Unclos, Kerala MPs