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Italian marines case: Congress furious, BJP hints at government action


New Delhi: In a move to placate the furore over the news that one of the two Italian marines- accused of murdering Indian fishermen off Kerala coast almost four years ago- will not return to India for the trial, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday hinted at the possibility of the Indian government taking action on the same.

“With regards to anyone who leaves the country or seeks the indulgence of the court and thereby travels out, they are supposed to follow court orders. You can’t have anybody showing disrespect to the court. I am sure that if someone is showing disrespect to the court or not following court orders then the government is bound to raise such a thing,” BJP leader Nalin Kohli told ANI.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to interfere and bring the culprits back to the country.

“Italian naval officers committed crime on Indian land and they are liable to obey the Indian rules. The UDF Government had taken a very strong stand on this point and at the time the UPA Government gave us their full support. My only request to the Indian government is to take strong steps to bring these culprits to India and to ensure that trial continues under the Indian law,” he said.

Earlier, a senator in Rome said that the two marines will not be returning to India to face trial after being allowed home temporarily for medical treatment.

“Massimiliano Latorre will not return to India, and furthermore, the possibility of asking for Salvatore Girone’s return is being explored,” said Nicola Latorre, president of the Senate Defence Committee.

The Congress on Wednesday joined the chorus, urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take action in the case and said that Rome should not go back on its commitment given to New Delhi.

“The Kerala Chief Minister has asked the Prime Minister to take appropriate action. Two Italian marines who are accused in this case, one was allowed to leave the country on compassionate grounds, he had a stroke and the Italian Government requested the Indian Government to take him to Italy for treatment,” Congress leader PC Chacko told ANI.

“They had also given an assurance that he will be brought back to India after the treatment. A government cannot go back on a commitment given. The law of the land must prevail, they have committed offence in India and they should be tried here. I hope the Centre will take appropriate action,” he added.

Congress leader Randeep Surjewala echoed similar views and said that Prime Minister Modi should take up the matter with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi.

“Will Modiji now take action and take up the issue diplomatically with his counterpart in Italy (to ensure that killer of Indian fishermen is brought to justice)?” he said.

India had granted Massimiliano Latorre, who suffered a stroke while in New Delhi in 2014, a period of leave in Italy for medical treatment, but he was supposed to return by Friday.

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The two men say they accidentally killed two fishermen when they mistook a fishing boat for a pirate ship and fired warning shots while protecting an Italian oil tanker in 2012. In a bid to tone down the diplomatic row, Italy reversed an initial decision in 2013 not to send the marines back to India to stand trial after a home visit.


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