Joint ballistic test tomorrow as Indian-Italian relations thaw *Italy-India Tug of war continues, while widow left homeless

February 27, 2012 by  
Filed under National, newsletter-india

Joint ballistic test tomorrow as Indian-Italian relations thawIndia-Itali, February 24, 2012: The High Court in Kerala heeds a request by the Italian consul in Mumbai to wait for two Italian policemen before conducting the test. Locals are satisfied, believing that cooperation is the only way to find the truth and achieve justice. “The autopsy did take place,” said Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council secretary general.

India and Italy will jointly conduct ballistic tests on board the Enrica Lexie. Responding to a request of Giampaolo Cutillo, Italian consul in Mumbai, the High Court of Kerala ordered the test be postponed, initially set for today, until tomorrow to allow technical staff from the Italian police (Carabinieri) to reach Kochi harbour, where the oil tanker is berthed.  This additional sign of openness comes a day after the prosecutor decided to extend the detention of the Italian marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, without formally arresting the two.

“The people of Kerala and the families of the fishermen are satisfied about how the case is unfolding,” said Fr Stephen G. Kulakkayathil, secretary general of Kerala Region Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC). Speaking to AsiaNews, he said, “Finally, Indian and Italian authorities have found the right approach, which is to work together.”

“We want to see an appropriate investigation so that every aspect of the case is clear: ship’s position, distance, weapons, etc. Working together is the only way to determine who is really responsible for these deaths.”

Speaking about the controversy surrounding the autopsy of the two fishermen, Fr Kulakkayathil said, “The autopsy did take place. I was on the beach when the coast guard brought back the bodies, which were immediately taken to the local morgue. The next morning, police moved them to Trivandrum’s Medical College Hospital. Tests indicate that Gelastine died from a gunshot to the head. Binki died instead from a wound to the chest. Two bullets, that’s all.”

Meanwhile, the position of Italian authorities has not changed. According to the Italian Navy, oil tanker Enrica Lexie was in international, not Indian waters when the incident occurred.

The number of shots fired also does not add up. For Italy, there were two bursts of machinegun fire (in the air and in the water), a single burst of 60 shots according to India.

The presence of another ship, the Olympic Fair, also casts its shadow over the whole affair. The Greek-flagged ship is said to be very similar to the Italian ship and was also involved in gunfire.

Greek authorities have denied the claim, saying that no ship fitting that description was in the Indian Ocean at the time.

– asianews

Italy-India Tug of war continues, while widow left homeless


Tug of war between India-ItaliaIndia-Italy, February 23, 2012: Two Italian marines to be held for a further 7 days. Relatives of victims experience a “strong sense of insecurity.” Pinku’s widow left in dire straits: The Tamil Nadu Government has no job or home for her.

While India and Italy continue with their diplomatic standoff, the situation of the families of two victims “is getting no better”, explains Fr. Ignaci Rajasekaran, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Trivandrum (Kerala) to AsiaNews. And the widow of Pinku, the fisherman originally from Tamil Nadu, is still homeless. Today the magistrate in Kochi decided a further seven days in custody for the Italian marines. This was the Kerala High Court decision after admitting the appeal by the Italian government for the release of Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, arrested for the murder of two Indian fishermen off the State coast.

However, with each passing day, the priest says, “two opposing situations are taking shape. The Kerala Government has responded decisively to concretely help Dora, the widow of Jelestein. In addition to 500 thousand rupees, the government has offered her a job and Quilon parishioners [diocese the family belongs to] have gathered around her. Thanks to this support, the widow has decided to appeal to the court of Quilon, to get more aid. ”

The widow of Pinku, the second fisherman killed, is in a completely different situation. Unlike the other family, very little is known or told of this family in the papers, both Italian and foreign. “The Government of Tamil Nadu – admits Fr. Rajasekaran – is guilty. Apart from giving the 500 thousand rupees compensation, it has done nothing. The chief minister has just paid a visit to the widow, expressing his condolences for the death of Pinku. In the Archdiocese of Trivandrum, we are trying to contact the state ministers to push them to do something. But being in Kerala we do not have a big influence. ”

Fortunately, even in the case of the widow of Pinku parishioners, the villagers and the local church have been active. “All together – says the priest – we are organizing a protest to demand the government of Tamil Nadu find a job and a home for that family. Both widows are suffering and experiencing a strong sense of insecurity, but not having a roof over ones head is terrible. I hope that something will change soon. ”

– asianews

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