New Delhi: 7.40 pm: India tells Italy arbitration or International Court proceedings is not the issue at the moment. The main issue is of Italy honouring its commitment to the Supreme Court of India, says government. Italy had suggested arbitration as a way to resolve the dispute over two of its marines. Italy has 10 days to respond. Court had given the marines permission to stay in Italy only till 22 March.
7.16 pm: Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai says, "Italy's stand not acceptable to us. Italy is obliged to ensure marines return as per their assurance. He (Italian Ambassador) took note of our position. He said would convey that to Rome."
6.51 pm: Italian Ambassador's meeting with Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai ends.
6.24 pm: Italian Ambassador meets Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai over the marines issue.
3.51 pm: External Affairs Ministry summons Italian envoy over the marines issue, say sources.
2.40 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy says that he will register a strong protest against Italy over its decision to not send back the marines to India.
2.30 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to reach Delhi on Tuesday night.
2.20 pm: PC Chacko says, "The Italian government has clearly violated the affidavit. The PM assured us diplomatic channels will be used through External Affairs Ministry to bring them to justice."
2.06 pm: Senior Italian journalist Maurizio Salvi says the two Italian marines will be prosecuted in the country. "Italy had no choice," Salvi adds.
1.13 pm: KN Balgopal, CPM MP, says, "It's a very serious issue. There is some conspiracy.. PM says it is not acceptable for India. It is a very serious issue and people are very agitated. We hope the government will take immediate steps to bring them back."
12.52 pm: CPI-M Politburo member and former state Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged that some foul play from behind the curtains by the state and central governments sabotaged the case.
12.17 pm: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh calls Italy's decision of not sending back the marines to India "unacceptable". He assures the Kerala MPs that he will speak to the minister concerned.
12.01 pm: Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay says, "The government did not allow (opposition) to raise the Italian marine issue in Parliament. The government allowed the marines to flee. It's a part of the conspiracy of the Indian government."
11.50 am: BJP's Balbir Punj slams the government and says, "Why is the Indian government soft on Italians? They were arrested and the fact almost completely proven. These two are criminals who are being protected by Indian government in collusion with Italians." He adds that the BJP will bring the matter up in Parliament. "We are definitely going to bring this up and take it to logical conclusion and expose the collusion between the Indian and Italian government."
11.32 am: Dora Valentine, wife of one of the dead fishermen, said, "This should not happen to any other family, I have not received justice."
11.00 am: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has sought an appointment with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday. He will take up the issue of the Italian marines who refused to return to the country for the trial in the Kerala fishermen killings case. Sources say that he has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue.
The Indian government has reacted to Italy's decision of not sending the Italian marines charged with the murder of two Kerala fishermen back to India. Government sources say the sanctity of sovereign guarantees has been violated by Italy.
Indian government sources have said that the original decision to send the marines to Italy to vote in the elections was the Supreme Court's and not the government's. As a first step, India will consult the government lawyer, the Attorney General.
Government sources say the Supreme Court will be disappointed with Italy's decision not to send the marines back. Sources have indicated they're not keen on Italy's offer of a 'judicial settlement'. The two Italian marines in a Kerala jail were allowed to go to Italy to vote on the promise that they would be sent back.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has said he will go through Italy's letter before responding. "Let me look at the letter and we will respond then. It was a Supreme Court decision but it's also a matter of our countries' collective decision. We cannot throw the ball in their court. Let's see what they have to say and what's their reasoning, after all they came back the last time," Khurshid said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party called Italy's decision a 'bluff'. "It's a betrayal, it's a bluff by the Italian government, it is a bluff to the Supreme Court which allowed them to go abroad on considerations," BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.
Meanwhile, the Italian media has quoted the two marines as saying that they are happy to remain in Italy and go back to work. The marine Salvatore Latorre has told the Italian news agency ANSA, "I thank the president of the republic, all institutions, the government and the Italian people who have always supported us with a great number of postcards that never made us feel alone. I also thank all those who have supported us through social networks."
On Monday evening, the Italian government made it clear that it doesn't intend to send back the two marines. The marines, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, had been allowed to travel to Italy to vote in the elections. In its Foreign Ministry's statement, Italy said that the Indian trial itself was illegal. The statement said, "Italy has always argued that the Indian authorities have violated their obligations under international law."
With additional information from PTI
- Italian marines say they're 'happy'; Govt to consult A-G over Italy's decision
- Italian marines row: Dead fisherman's wife seeks justice
- Italy's decision on marines unacceptable: Kerala CM Oommen Chandy