Killing of fishermen cold-blooded murder: Chandy

Killing of fishermen cold-blooded murder: Chandy

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said firing by armed guards on-board an Italian merchant ship killing two Indian fishermen off the Kollam coast was "cold-blooded murder" and legal action would be taken against the crew of the merchant vessel responsible for the attack.

"Strict legal action will certainly be taken against the guilty," he told reporters after a meeting of the United Democratic Front (UDF) meeting here.

Chandy said he had held discussions with Advocate General K P Dandapani on the issue."Timely action has been taken against the ship. The Coast Guard had traced the vessel 'Enrica Lexie' within hours of the incident and the ship has been brought to Kochi port," he said.

Welcoming the stand of the Union government in the issue, the chief minister said the state government was constantly in touch with the Centre.

"We are continuously in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs...We are taking it as a very serious case," he said, adding that a case has already been registered against the crew.

Two fishermen -- Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) -- were killed on February 15 off the Kollam coast near Kerala when armed guards of the Italian ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a vessel belonging to pirates.

Meanwhile, Additional DGP P Chandrasekharan, accompanied by Kochi Police Commissioner M R Ajit Kumar, and investigating officers boarded the ship this morning and held discussions with the Italian Consul General and the Captain.

The Italians are sticking to their stand that they were expecting officials from Justice, External Affairs and two other ministries only after their arrival a decision would be taken about their course of action, police sources said.