New Delhi: Amid anger back home, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to press that the Centre should act to bring back for trial the two Italian marines who are accused of killing two fishermen.
Terming Italy’s decision not to send back its marines as a “diplomatic tragedy,” he said they should not escape under the garb of diplomatic status and it is the responsibility of the Centre to ensure their return to stand trial here.
Chandy, whose Congress-led UDF Government came under attack from Opposition over handling of the issue, was critical of Italy, saying it used diplomacy as a “weapon to cheat” another nation’s apex court and “shield” the killers.
“There will be no compromise on this issue. The marines should be tried under Indian law. Diplomatic status should not be used as a weapon to cheat another nation’s apex judiciary. It should not be used as a means to shield the killers,” he said.
“No nation can agree with it. World will stand by India on this issue. That is why I am telling that Italy’s stand on this issue is a diplomatic tragedy,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who also discussed the issue with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, said it is the time for the Centre to act. He said it is not only Kerala’s issue but a question of the country’s “prestige and sovereignty.”
Reacting to a question whether the Supreme Court has “erred” in allowing them to go to Italy to cast their votes, he said, “I am not going to find any fault. What next is the specific agenda.”
He also expressed the hope that “Italy will come around and obey Indian laws.”
Chandy said the Prime Minister assured him that all steps would be taken to bring the marines back to India.
“I am sure that the Centre would make all possible efforts to bring them back. That is reflected in Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament,” he said.
“Firstly, the Italians tried to escape after committing the crime. But our navy and coast guard managed to arrest them. Secondly, they argued that the marines should be tried under Italian law. But they could not succeed. Now, Italy will have to bow its head before India and its law,” Chandy said.