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This Italian wound may turn gangrene

The Italian Marines resisted for 8 hours  before they would be moved into the cell in Poojappura prison in Thiruvananthapuram to await trial for the killing of 2 Indian fishermen on February 15. The jail wardens were unsure about their locus standii to exercise authority in such a tricky case fraught with booby traps and they took the easy way out —  seek instructions from above. A bureaucratic chain appeared in no time leading to the highest level of state power in Kerala. The matter finally was referred for instructions all the way to chief minister Oommen Chandy himself. 

Finally, at 3 am the Marines obliged to take up residence in the VIP cell, whose previous occupant, ironically, happened to be a former Kerala minister R. Balakrishna Pillai belonging to the ruling alliance, who was convicted for an year’s imprisonment for public corruption. 
Chandy pardoned Pillai before the prison term was completed. Recently he also released PiIlai’s memoirs. Whether there is going to be similar grace shown to the Italian Marines  once the Piravom bypoll on March 17 is over and done with, will be the big qustion. 
At any rate, the Italian deputy foreign minister Staffan De Mistura apparently thinks so, and he is vowing to stay put in this lovely town hugging the Kovalam beach resort until the denouement of the Marines affair. He is personally looking into the comforts of the Marines and giving interviews to Italian TV channels. 
There are over 3 dozen foreigners imprisoned in Kerala jails (mostly Pakistanis and Sri Lankans) for crimes less severe than murder — overstay without visa, drug-related crimes, etc. But they are ‘dead souls’. It’s truly amazing — to what length Western countries go to ensure the welfare of their citizens.
Italy is passing through an economic crisis and Italians are a proud lot. There is sensitivity in Italy that ‘rising India’ is trashing ‘weak Italy’.
The fact that the Italian FM summoned the Indian ambassador yesterday and made a demarche about  Poojappura shows how far things have deteriorated at the diplomatic level. The lingering question is whether this entire affair couldn’t have been handled differently by Delhi. 
Like Kudankulam, National Counter-Terrorism Centre, water accord with Bangladesh, Mullaperiyar — this affair too becomes a living monument to the dysfunctional government in New Delhi. 

Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.

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6 Responses

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  1. captainjohann says

    I am surprised at Mr.Bhadrakumar’s views. The ship was on a mission of Arms smuggling or whatever that they had the Italian marines to guard the cargo. Not only that the marines killed the Indian fishermen by intent as they might have witnessed or likely to witness something the crew of the Italian ship did not want to see.Otherwise if it was a priate attack as suspected the crew had a standard procedure prescribed by International maritime organisation..I t did not follow this. Infact it gave its location only when Indian coast guard radioed after the fishermen injured reached shore and complained ( a gap of 4 hours).The most important thing is that the crew destroyed or didnot produce the “black box of the ship which monitors the GPS coordinates of the ship continuously.
    It is the attitude of Indian politicians, bureaucrats and even ex diplomats to consider Indian lives as cheap is the curx of the problem

  2. Dr Ajay says

    Mr. Bhadrakumar has been taking the position all along that the Indians are on the wrong diplomatic footing by demanding proper legal in dispositioning of this case. Yet, in another breath, he lauds the Westerners batting for their citizens with little interest in ‘justice’. Therefore, there is a dichotomy here.
    For sure, an Indian soldier commiting such an act in the western world would never have been afforded the courtesies shown by the state of Kerela to the jailed marines which I think is the right approach. Neither would have GOI acted as the Italians are doing (the Norwegian Children’s case being an exception). There are lessons here for our diplomats, active and retired i.e to be fair and tough to the best extent of diplomatic strength.
    India needs to assert right and fair action which is seen to be so internationally. If convicted, the marines should be afforded better treatment than other criminals and any exchange of diplomatic courtesies should be taken up at that juncture.

  3. rockytorque says

    india would do well to remember the incident of navy ship tabar sinking what they thought was pirate mother ship with uncertain fate of thai hostages supposed to be present on that ship.with a large number of indian sailors and navy protecting them india should be more circumspect about her actions.

  4. DrYNI Anand says

    This Italian wound may turn gangrene:

    It is better to amputate the limb before it kills the person, meaning, the judiciary should deliver a quick judgment rather than prolonging it like those in the case of Kasab and the Parliament attackers.

  5. Seshadri Moranam says

    They (Italian diplomats) perhaps expect Sonia to come to their rescue. If pressure could be brought upon by the PM of Italy there would be a satisfactory result for the prisoners. Take the case of Anderson who was released in exchange for Adil Shariar son of Mohd. Yunus.

  6. Pat Thakur says

    What nonsense? Aren’t they afraid one bit about the Italian Godmother, berating her country brethern?

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