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Shipping Minister Vasan seeks strict action against guilty Italian ship crew

Chennai, Mon, 20 Feb 2012 ANI

Chennai, Feb.20 (ANI): Union Shipping Minister G K Vasan on Monday called for strict action against Italian ship crew responsible for shooting two innocent fishermen in Indian waters.


Kerala Police have detained two Italian naval personnel, accused of killing the two Indian fisherman whom they mistook for pirates.


The two Indian nationals were killed on February 15 off Kerala's Kollam coast. Armed men from the Italian ship 'Enrica Lexie' opened fire on their boat.


Kochi Police is said to be interrogating the two accused.


"One thing we are very clear. Punishment should be given to the guilty. We have lost two precious lives of our fishermen. It can't be pardoned. It can't be taken for granted," Vasan told reporters in Chennai.


"Now, the ship has been confiscated and it is in the Cochin Port. The Defence Ministry, the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) and the Law Ministry-they are also giving their views on the subject. The Italian officials are also in Delhi and Cochin, talking on the subject. The Ministry of Shipping has also ordered an inquiry," added Vasan.


The Ministry of External Affairs said that Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi Di Santagata had called his Indian counterpart S M Krishna on Saturday to discuss"a mutually acceptable procedure to establish the facts beyond any doubt and determine responsibilities".


Italy's Ambassador to India, Giacomo Sanfelice di Monteforte was summoned to a meeting with an official at the Foreign Office in Delhi last week to explain what had happened. The ambassador was asked to ensure that the crew of the ship cooperated with the Indian police and coastal authorities. (ANI)


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