New Delhi: The row over the alleged killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian naval guards has escalated. Italy is not only engaging diplomatically, but also working the Catholic channels through the Vatican to secure the release of the two guards accused of killing two Indian fishermen, according to reports.
Indian Cardinal George Alencherry has also been dragged into the controversy. A report had claimed that Alencherry had appealed to the Kerala government not to "precipitate action".
But a spokesperson for the church in Kerala stated that Alencherry's words had been distorted by the media and he had not said anything that went against India's position on the issue.
Meanwhile, Staffan De Mistura, Italian Foreign Ministry undersecretary will be in Delhi on Wednesday to negotiate the release of the two guards. Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who himself will visit the country on February 29, has instructed De Mistura to continue, at the political level, the work already carried out by the delegation of Italian experts from the Foreign, Defence and Justice Ministries. De Mistura will have contacts at the highest level with the state and federal authorities in, respectively, Kochi and in New Delhi.
The accused naval personnel will also seek relief from the Kerala High Court.
A petition filed by the widow of one of the fishermen for compensation is also likely to come up in the High Court. She has demanded a compensation of one crore rupees and also detention of the Italian ship. A separate PIL seeking compensation for the families of the fishermen has been filed.