Italian marines return home for Christmas

Thiruvananthapuram : There will be no Christmas celebrations this year for the family members of two Indian fishermen shot dead by the Italian marines off Kollam coast in February this year even as the latter left Kerala on Saturday to celebrate the festival with their family in Italy. The two sailors, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, facing trial in a court at Kollam flew out of Kochi international airport on the wee hours of Saturday in a chartered flight arranged by the Italian Navy a day after they were allowed by the high court to go home for two weeks.

Italian marines return home for Christmas

Doramma, widow of Gelastine, one of the two fishermen died in the mid-sea firing, felt the court decision could not be justified as the family members will not be in a position to celebrate the Christmas without their breadwinners. “We have not celebrated any of the festivals since my husband left us. We will not be celebrating Christmas either. We will mark the Christmas by praying for the soul of my husband,” she added.

When asked about the apprehension raised by Kerala government that the marines may not return once they are allowed to leave the country, Droamma said she was hopeful that the two will return to the country and face the trial.

“I have full faith in God. The God will bring them back. If they escape the law the God will give appropriate punishment to them. I have lost my husband. I will not get him back even if the marines are punished,” said Doramma, a devout Christian. Her uncle, Johnson, does not share Doramma’s optimism. He said that the Italian government, which employed its full might to ensure their return to the country, might retain them in Italy under some pretexts. He said that if the Italian police arrest the marines in connection with the case pending against them there, the government of India will not be able to do anything. They have been insisting on trying the marines in Italy under the Italian law.

Johnson pointed out that India should have learnt a lesson from its decision to allow two French nationals to leave the country after they were arrested in connection with an espionage case. India could not get the custody of the two even after 14 years.

He said that a proper punishment to the marines for killing two innocent fishermen was required to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in future. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the state government had opposed strongly relaxation in the bail conditions of the two accused. Now it was up to the central government to see that the two return.

M.Susaipakiam, Church Archbishop of Thiruvananthapuram Latin Arch Diocese, termed the court decision a good humanitarian gesture and hoped that the Italian government will reciprocate it. He told reporters on Saturday that the gesture will strengthen the ties between the two countries, soured by the incident.

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