Fisherman's widow changes stance; admits her silence was bought

Fisherman's widow changes stance; admits her silence was bought

Fisherman's widow changes stance; admits her silence was bought

Having reacted strongly to the refusal of Italy not to return the marines to face justice in India, the widow of one of the fishermen shot down by the guards has made an admission that she had been asked to maintain silence. 

At a dingy corner of the district fisheries office located on the collectorate, Dora sat on Thursday in contemplation with her rosary lying on the table. She is the last grade employee of the fisheries department, which she got as a solatium from the state government as her family lost the only breadwinner.

Aware that her husband’s death has sparked a serious diplomatic row between India and Italy and has become a full-blown international issue, the semi-literate Dora was unable to decide whether to keep the word of silence she had given in return for Rs 1 crore compensation from the country, or to speak her views in public. 

It is believed that staying away from the media attention had been part of the deal under which compensation had been provided. The 45-year-old widow had largely stuck to the deal, but having learnt that the two marines had escaped justice by not returning to India, she could hardly contain herself.

“Mere monetary compensation wouldn’t solve the issue. Those who committed the offence should be punished,” was her immediate reaction to the news of Italy’s refusal to return the marines.

However, when this newspaper sought her reaction on the latest development, Dora appeared to have had a change of mind.

“We will go by the government decision. It is the government which has to decide whether (the marines) should return to the country on not,’’ Dora said, apparently referring to the Italian government.

When pointed out that she had changed her stance, Dora said her earlier outburst was made without proper thinking.

When repeatedly asked why she should change her words, Dora said she was not permitted to speak.

“No I cannot talk (about it). I have been asked not to talk to media,’’ she said.
Though Dora did not disclose who asked her to maintain silence, the fact that she was merely echoing the views of the Church has been an open secret.

Fr Rajesh Martin, director of Quilon Service Society, an NGO under the Kollam Latin Diocese, negotiated the compensation with Italy for the dead fishermen’s families which follow the Latin faith.