M A I N   N E W S

Italy regrets killings, India unmoved
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

Italian Govt Moves Kerala HC

The Italian Government on Wednesday moved the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR charging its two marines with murder of two Indian fishermen. In a related development, the court admitted a petition by the family of one of the deceased fishermen seeking Rs 1 crore compensation and directed the owners of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh.

We do acknowledge and recognise that two Indian fishermen died. No one doubts it. It is terribly sad.

— Steffan de Mistura , Italian Deputy Foreign Minister

We will certainly go by our law. As far as the law is concerned, they have their interpretation and we have our interpretation.

— Preneet Kaur, Minister of State for External Affairs

New Delhi, February 22
There was no end in sight today to the diplomatic row between India and Italy over the killing of two Indian fishermen by two Italian naval personnel off the Kerala coast on February 15 with the two sides sticking to their respective positions.

Visiting Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura met Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur and insisted that the incident occurred in international waters and, therefore, the two Italians, now in the custody of the Indian authorities, could not be tried in Indian courts.

New Delhi, however, made it clear that the two Italian marines would face the Indian law since the incident involved Indian nationals and an Indian vessel.

With today's meeting ending in a stalemate, the spotlight will now be on Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi's visit to India on February 28.

Emerging from the South Block after his hour-long meeting with Kaur, Mistura expressed "terrible sadness" over the incident. "We do acknowledge and recognise that two Indian fishermen died. No one doubts it, and it is terribly sad," he said, indicating that he would visit Kerala where the Italian marines are in custody. He is likely to meet members of the bereaved families also.

The Italian minister said the incident took place in international waters “and investigation will ascertain the exact position” of the Italian ship. “We are taking it seriously. We are definitely expressing terrible sadness and regret the loss of lives.”

The Indian minister clearly hinted there was no question of India making any compromise on where the trial should be held. "We will go by our law," she said. "As far as the law is concerned, they have their interpretation and we have ours." Kaur said the Italian marines "are on Indian soil" and "we have taken note of what (de Mistura) said".





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