[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Fishermen killings spark India-Italy row
India summons Italian ambassador and arrests tanker crew after two fishermen shot dead in confrontation at sea.
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2012 10:56
Indian authorities have launched a murder probe and summoned Italy's ambassador for questioning [AFP]

A diplomatic row has erupted between India and Italy after two Indian fisherman were shot dead in a confrontation between an Italian oil tanker and their fishing boat in waters off the sourthern Indian coast.

Indian police have detained the entire crew, including Italian navy officers, over the killings, while Italy's ambassador in New Delhi was summoned to the foreign office. 

An Indian coast guard official said the naval guards aboard the Enrica Lexie appeared to have mistaken the fishermen for pirates.

"I think they have erred in their judgment. Innocent fisherman should not be fired at, even anywhere, there is no doubt," said Surinder Pal Singh Basra, inspector general of India's coast guard.

Basra said the Italian vessel violated international protocol by not sending any distress signal, which is considered standard procedure during pirate attacks.

He said the incident had occurred on Wednesday in waters off India's southern state of Kerala, and said Indian coast guards had done their duty by bringing the Italian ship to port and detaining its captain and crew.

A murder case has been registered against the crew, said a senior official at a police station in Neendakara Coastal police station, where surviving fishermen sought help.

A foreign ministry official said Italy's ambassador was asked to ensure the crew of the ship co-operated with Indian authorities.

The Italian navy in a statement said on Thursday that the fishing boat had behaved aggressively and had been warned on several occasions by the naval officers aboard the tanker.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.