Trivandrum - The Forensic Science Laboratory in Trivandrum in the presence of an Italian delegation, including two experts, is conducting today ballistic tests on the weapons Kochi police seized on the Enrica Lexie following a 15-hour search that began last Saturday. Altogether, four boxes, containing two machine guns, six rifles, 18 pistols and six bulletproof vests, were taken off the ship. The oil tanker has to remain in port until tomorrow morning in accordance with an order of the Kerala High Court. The two suspects, Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre, are also in custody until tomorrow for their role in the death of two Indian fishermen in an incident on 15 February off the Kerala coast.
Tensions in Indo-Italian relations caused by the incident are easing. The authorities on both sides are working together in a cooperative spirit. In fact, Kochi Police Commission M R Ajith Kumar said that the Italian delegation extended its full co-operation. Tonight, Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi di Sant'Agata is expected in India to handle the manner.
"These deaths are unfortunate," Lenin Raghuvanshi told AsiaNews. We want justice and compensation for our Kerala fishermen" and their families, added the director of the Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR).
"In India, when charges are made against a soldier, it is impossible to have him tried in a civilian court. He can only go before a military court. For this reason, once the facts are clear, the Italian soldiers should have the same possibility."
Meanwhile, the families of the two dead fishermen, Ajai Binki (from Tamil Nadu) and Gelastine (from Kerala), want to know whether they will receive some compensation.
"As you can image, their pain is great and very much alive," said Fr Stephen G. Kulakkayathil, secretary general of the Kerala Latin Region Catholic Council, who spoke to AsiaNews.
"They are not hoping to see the two marines go to prison, but they do want justice in order to start to live again." (GM)
(Nirmala Carvalho contributed to the article)