Indian law will try the two Italian security guards who shot dead two Indian fishermen off the country’s coast last week,India has told Italy.
A high-level meeting between Italian Deputy Prime Minister Steffan de Mistura and Indian counterpart Preneet Kaur Wednesday was inconclusive with Italy reiterating its stand that the firing took place in international waters. ”A thorough investigation would establish the exact position of the offence,” Mistura said.
Italy later moved the Kerala High Court and appealed that murder charges be quashed against the two marines.
However,India made it clear the issue would be handled according to the law of the land and said the “very fair and free judiciary” would take the right decision.
Italy’s concerns on the incident were conveyed by Mistura,who rushed here this morning,during his meeting with Preneet Kaur.
After the hour-long meeting,both stuck to the known stands of their respective countries even as the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said the ties between the two countries were “very important for all of us”.
“As far as the law is concerned,they have their interpretations and we have our interpretations. As of today,the two people (arrested Italian marines) are on Indian soil and tomorrow the Indian court is going to decide what steps are to be taken further,” Kaur told reporters.
“So as far as we are concerned in India,we certainly will go by our law,” she said as her Italian counterpart maintained the incident took place in “international waters”.
In Kochi,Italian authorities moved the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR against two Naval guards charged with murder. They were charged by a local court on Monday.
Mistura said there was an agreement on three points,but Kaur denied having reached any understanding. “The only agreement is that the law will take its own course,” she said.
Expressing regret over the incident,Mistura said: “We do acknowledge that two Indian citizens died. No one doubts it and we are terribly sad. The second one is that the incident took place in international waters and at the same time the investigations will assert the exact position.”
“We all want truth. The truth will help us in (finding) proper way of handling the issue,” he said and added that he would go to Kerala this evening.
Mistura said ties between India and Italy were “very important for all of us” and that the “tragic incident” needs to be analysed properly.
“This tragic incident needs to be analysed properly and we can continue having a proper dialogue about finding a solution to it,” he said.
In Thiruvananthapuram,Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government would go ahead with prosecution of the two Italians,saying ”it is the right and power of the state”.
“The two Italians have been booked under Section 302 of the IPC and government’s stand is it will proceed with the investigation. It is the right and power of the state. The Centre has extended full support to Kerala’s position,” he said.
Two fishermen were killed by Italian guards off the Kerala coast on Wednesday last.
Italy had on Monday said there were “currently considerable differences of a legal character” on the issue of the arrest of the two Italian soldiers,who opened fire at fishermen mistaking them to be pirates off Kochi coast.
Italian Foreign Ministry had said it will “continue on a political level the action so far carried out by a delegation of experts from the Italian foreign,defence and justice ministries.” Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi is also slated to visit India next Tuesday.