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India pandering to emotions on fishermen's killing: Italy

Tuesday February 21, 2012 07:20:34 PM, IANS

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Rome: Indian authorities are pandering to emotions over the arrest of two Italian Marines for last week's killing of two Indian fishermen, Italy's Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi has said.

Indian authorities are pandering to emotions and local politics, Italian news agency AKI quoted the minister as saying Monday.

A security detail of Italian Marines Feb 15 fired at a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, killing two Indian fisherman. The Italians said they mistook the victims to be pirates.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of carrying out the shooting and were taken ashore Sunday and detained by Indian authorities.

"At the moment, there are considerable differences of a judicial nature," Terzi told reporters here.

Terzi said local politics was adding to the difficulty of resolving the diplomatic differences.

The two Marines have been arrested and charged with murder. The Italians say the incident took place in international waters and the Italians should be tried in Italy. India disputes this.

"Complicating an already complex situation are the elections being held in Kerala that are without a doubt influencing the feelings of the citizens and as a consequence risk influencing the investigation," the Italian foreign minister said.

Italy said the soldiers aboard the Enrica Lexie suspected the fishing boat was a pirate vessel and followed proper procedures by firing warning shots before taking direct aim. India says the marines failed to show "restraint".

Terzi Monday spoke by telephone with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna and said the fishing boat was in international waters. Its location is a matter of dispute between the two countries.









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