Family of killed fisherman refuses to meet Italian minister

Kollam (Kerala) : The family of Gelastine, one of two Indian fishermen shot dead by Italian marines aboard the Enrica Lexie, Sunday said that it was not interested in meeting the visiting Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura.

“We discussed this with the church and others who said that a meeting with the Italian minister might be counterproductive,” the elder son of Gelastine, who hails from here, told reporters.

The Italian minister arrived here Saturday afternoon and visited a school whose warden, a Christian priest spent six years in Italy.

Gelastine was one of the two Indian fishermen shot dead by Italian marines aboard Italian ship Enrica Lexie last month after allegedly being mistaken as pirates.

Later speaking to reporters here, the minister said that he wanted to visit a church here but knowing the sentiments of the people, his team decided against that and also not to meet the family of Gelastine.

“We, the Italian people do understand the feelings of the family of the fisherman who died. We have faith in the judiciary and are now awaiting the verdict from the court,” said the minister who also pointed out that he paid a visit to the two arrested Italian marines.

“They were calm and we told them that the Italian government is with them and will not leave them alone,” added the minister.

His visit assumes significance as the 14-day-custody of the two arrested Italian marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, ends on Monday. Also, the Kerala high court is expected to give its verdict on Tuesday in the petition filed by the Italian authorities demanding quashing of the FIR against the two arrested Italian marines.

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