Italian marines' case: BJP hits out at Kerala Govt

Italian mariner

BJP has accused the UDF Government in Kerala of trying to save the two Italian marines accused in the Enrica Lexie case instead of ensuring justice to the families of the two slain fishermen after the Supreme Court today ordered trial by a special court.

BJP state president V Muraleedharan, in a statement here, said the state government failed to present all the actual facts regarding the firing incident before the apex court.

He alleged it was difficult to believe it could be an inadvertent slip as the Congress leadership and the state government had right from the start sought to save the two Italian marines accused in the case, instead of ensuring justice to the families of the two deceased fishermen.

The apex court today turned down the Italian government's plea that Indian courts had no jurisdiction in the case and directed that the trial be conducted by a special court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said the Kerala government has no jurisdiction to prosecute the two foreign marines.

It did not specify where the special court is to be set up for the trial and left it to the Centre to decide on the issue after consulting the Chief Justice of India.

The marines -- Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone -- on board 'Enrica Lexie' allegedly opened fire at their fishing boat off Alappuzha coast on February 15 last, mistaking them for pirates.

Meanwhile, the National Fish Workers Forum (NFF) urged the state government to file a reivew petition against the apex court order in the case.

NFF national secretary T Peter also suggested the Centre bring in a comprehensive legislation to protect fishermen from the threat they faced from foreign ships foraying into the country's territorial waters.

In a statement, he said fishermen also played a vital role in national security as they often alert the security agencies of alien intruders.

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