Oommen Chandy meets Italian minister, expresses concern

Oommen Chandy meets Italian minister, expresses concern

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday expressed serious concern to visiting Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura about news reports of Indians coming under attack in Italy.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting here, Chandy said he had raised his concerns about reports of Indian restaurants in Italy being attacked.

"The minister told me that Italy is a country of 60 million people and the reported marches taken out by protesters in their country were done by around 100 people and it should not be seen as a protest by the entire country," said Chandy.

He also added that the minister had asked to meet him Sunday but since he was out of station, it did not take place.

"Today (Monday) morning before the minister returned to Delhi, he met me in the company of top police officials from the state and told me that so far the court has not passed any judgment and hence the two Italian marines currently in the Thiruvananthapuram Central Prison should be moved out from there," said Chandy.

"I told him that it is the court that has passed such an order and the government is not a party to it. I also told them that the decision rests with the police officials if the marines have to be moved out," said Chandy.

Mistura has been staying in the capital city for a few days.
The two Italian marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone were Feb 20 sentenced by the court to 14 days custody, of which the first three days were police custody. The judicial custody was later extended twice by seven days each and since last Monday, they have been lodged at the Central Prison here.

They have been charged with shooting dead Indian fishermen Ajesh Binki (25), and Gelastine (45), Feb 15 after mistaking them to be pirates. The marines were on board cargo vessel Enrica Lexie, about 14 nautical miles off Alappuzha in Kerala.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Chandy, the Italian minister said: "The two marines are in jail and we have asked them to be moved from the jail. There are international laws to this effect and since they are Italian defence officials, they have certain rights. These international laws would be applicable to Indian defence officials, if they are faced with a similar situation in Italy."