Italy tells citizens to be 'vigilant' in India

2013-03-16 21:00

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

New Delhi - Italy on Saturday warned its nationals in India to be "vigilant and cautious" as a diplomatic row over two Italian marines who skipped bail while facing trial for murder deepens.

The advice came a day after India's airports were put on alert to prevent Italy's ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country, according to Indian home ministry sources.

"In connection with any protests, especially in Kerala state, related to the two sailors, citizens are urged to always maintain a vigilant and cautious attitude and stay away from any crowds," the Italian embassy said in an advisory notice on its a website.

The warning reflected apparent Italian concern about a possible backlash after Rome refused to return the two marines charged with murdering two Indian fishermen in waters off the coast of the southern state of Kerala last year.

Local Indian media reported that fishermen's groups in Kerala have staged protests against the decision not to return the sailors while state lawmakers have expressed outrage.

India's Supreme Court on Thursday directed that the Italian ambassador, who struck a deal for the marines to go back home to vote in last month's Italian election, should stay in India until the next hearing about the dispute on Monday.

Rome announced earlier in the week it was reneging on commitments to send back the two sailors, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, to face trial.

Mancini had signed an affidavit giving his personal assurance that the two marines would return.

Serious charges

The dispute has been a major embarrassment for the Indian government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has warned of "consequences" for bilateral ties if the pair do not return to stand trial in New Delhi.

Singh's rivals have accused the government of incompetence for allowing the marines to go home while facing such serious charges, and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has said Italy is treating India "like a banana republic".

The marines shot dead the fishermen off India's southwestern coast in February last year when a fishing boat sailed close to an Italian oil tanker they were guarding. They say they mistook the fishermen for pirates.

Italy insists the marines should be prosecuted in their home country because the shootings involved an Italian-flagged vessel in international waters, but India says the killings took place in waters under its jurisdiction.

Ties between the two countries have also been soured by corruption allegations surrounding a $748 million deal for the purchase of 12 Italian helicopters which the Indian government is now threatening to scrap.

India's foreign ministry said Friday the "entire expanse of our interaction" with Italy is being reviewed while stressing that Italy has to "respect and abide" by the agreements between it and the Supreme Court.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.