Ready to discuss Italian marine issue in Parliament: PM
New Delhi, Mar 13 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said the Government is ready for any discussion on the Italian Marines issue in Parliament.
Responding to the issue raised by Left Parties in the Lok Sabha today, Dr. Singh said the Centre is ready for any discussion as fixed by the Speaker.
He further said the whole country is agitated and concerned over the issue and that he shared the same sentiment.
Dr. Singh had earlier said Italy's decision not to send two marines charged with the killing of two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala last year back was unacceptable.
Dr. Singh, who reacted sharply to the Italian Government's decision, told Left MPs from Kerala that he would ask External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to take up the issue with Italy.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has Central Government of colluding with Italy over the latter's refusal to send back two marines charged with the murder of two fishermen off the Kerala coast last year.
"The government is involved in this case, as without their involvement, nothing can be done. This matter should be taken very seriously," BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said.
"This issue of Italian marines is very shocking because this would not have been possible without the collusion of government. Granting bail to persons for four weeks just to take part in voting is questionable. We don't have any such system in India to give bail just to take part in voting. Earlier, they were given bail for Christiana vacations," he added.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday summoned Italian Ambassador to India, Daniele Mancini to convey the Indian Government's collective decision that 'contents of note" submitted by the Italian Government was not acceptable to India.
"I summoned him to my office and basically what I told him is that the contents of note, which was given to us conveying the position of the Government of Italy regarding the two marines is not acceptable to us," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told media here.
Mathai said Italy is obliged under the terms of the assurance given to the Supreme Court that the two marines return within the set timeframe.
"There was an offer of discussions, which had been made in a note from the Italians on the 6th of March; that is a separate issue from the assurance, which was given to our Supreme Court on the basis of which the Supreme Court had allowed the two marines to go back to Italy for a short period of time," said Mathai.
This move of the MEA came after Italian Foreign Ministry made it clear that the marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen would not return to India when their court-allowed leave ends this month.
The two Italian marines, Salvatore Latorre and Massimiliano Girone, charged with homicide for killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast in February 2012 after mistaking them for pirates, were permitted by the Supreme Court to go to Italy for four weeks to vote in last month's election.
The two were allowed to go home during Christmas. They returned to India on the expiry of their leave.