Marines re­turn be­fore dead­line

Back in Kochi; Italy hopes for quick so­lu­tion

Hindustan Times (Patna) - - NATION - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

THIRU­VANATHA­PU­RAM: The two Ital­ian marines — ac­cused of shoot­ing two In­dian fish­er­men — who were al­lowed to go home to Italy for Christ­mas, re­turned to Kochi on Fri­day.

Much to the re­lief of the Union and the state government, La­tore Mas­si­m­il­iano and Sal­va­tore Gironi re­turned a week be­fore the dead­line set by the Ker­ala high court. Italy feels that the men’s early re­turn would lead to a so­lu­tion to the con­tentious is­sue that is threat­en­ing to vi­ti­ate ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

On Fe­bru­ary 15, 2011, Mas­si­m­il­iano and Gironi had al­legedly shot two In­dian fish­er­men off the Ker­ala coast. While stay­ing in Kochi on con­di­tional bail, they were given per­mis­sion to go home for Christ­mas by the Ker­ala high court. They had been asked to re­turn by 3 pm on Jan­uary 10.

The rel­a­tives of the vic­tims and the op­po­si­tion CPM had slammed the court’s de­ci­sion, ap­pre­hend­ing that the men would not re­turn to In­dia.

But ar­riv­ing in a spe­cial air­craft on Fri­day morn­ing, Mas­si­m­il­iano and Gironi later ap­peared be­fore the Kol­lam district mag­is­trate. “We have kept our words. We have faith in the ju­di­ciary of In­dia,” said Ital­ian con­sul gen­eral Gi­ampaolo Cu­tillo, who ac­com­pa­nied the marines.

The two Ital­ian marines come out of the po­lice com­mis­sioner’s of­fice in Kochi.

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