Italy has proposed monetary compensation to the families of two fishermen shot and killed by Italian ship guards off the Kerala coast a week ago. This is the latest attempt to find a solution to a problem that has become a major diplomatic issue between India and Italy.
While maintaining that the “law has to take its own course”, New Delhi has agreed to let the proposal be placed before the fishermen’s families and the Kerala government for consideration, senior government officials told HT.Italy’s junior foreign minister, Staffan De Mistura, met with his Indian counterpart, Preneet Kaur, on Wednesday. He will also meet the victims’ families.
He is scheduled to meet with the victims’ family as well as Kerala government officials.
“It’s a proposal Italians have made. But our position remains the same the law has to take its course. There will be investigations and once they are over the matter will go to a court of law,” the officials said.
Rome is asking the Catholic churches of both countries to use their good offices to find an amicable settlement. Both guards and fishermen are Catholic.
Meanwhile, under-fire Cardinal George Mar Alancherry denied he had asked “anyone to intervene”. The Rome based cardinal had been quoted asking Catholic ministers in India to help solve the ship tangle.
“I only said the issue should be sorted out before it gets out of hand. I fully endorse my country’s view in this regards.” At the same time, Italy will be make the case before the court that the shooting took place in international waters and was therefore outside India’s jurisdiction. Italy claims the ship was just outside India’s 24 nautical miles contiguous zone. India says the incident took place 22 miles from shore.