Kerala Marine Killings: 'I don't want my sons to go to sea, they must study'
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Every morning at around 6, Dora walks down the narrow lane outside her house to the local cemetery where her husband Valentile alias Jelestine is buried. This February, it will be two years since Jelestine and another fisherman Ajeesh Pinku were killed in firing by Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone onboard mercantile vessel Enrica Lexie. Dora, 42, starts her day by whispering a prayer for Jelestine — first at his grave and then at the church. She misses him, but is starting to think of a life beyond. Her only dream, she says, is to see her sons excel in studies. "I don't want to send my sons to the sea."
Dora's elder son Derrick, 19, is a mechanical engineering student at a local self-financing college while 11-year-old Jean is a Class VI student at an English-medium school.
While Italy has failed to send back the marines to India to face the murder charge, since they went home one year ago for Christmas, Dora says she doesn't want the government to pursue the case. "Even if the marines are brought back, tried and punished, will I get back my husband?" she says. "Let them go free. I don't want my sons to face marines' curse."
Several priests and scribes from Italy also visited the family last year, seeking that they pardon the marines. "We told them that we have pardoned them."
Three months after Jelestine's death, Dora had got the job of a peon in the Fisheries Department on compassionate grounds, on a salary of
Rs 10,000 a month. Shocked at her husband's untimely death, Dora did not attend office initially. "Now, office makes me happy. If the government hadn't given me a job, I would have stayed in trauma," she says.
The Italian government gave a compensation of Rs 1 crore after the families withdrew their affidavits in the court against its plea seeking quashing of the FIR against marines. After accepting the compensation, Dora gave it in writing that she had pardoned the two. A portion of the compensation, Rs 52 lakh, was used to buy six-and-a-half cents of land at Thangassery, Kollam. After clearing the lawyers' bills, the rest of the amount was kept in a fixed deposit in a local cooperative bank.