THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Enrica Lexie incident rocked the State Assembly on Monday with the LDF staging a walkout condemning the government’s stand as ‘’unsatisfactory.’’
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy claimed that the state had a watertight case against the two Italian marines who shot dead two fishermen and the case was progressing smoothly. The state had a strong case and no one will escape under the protection of diplomatic ties, he said.
The walkout came after the Speaker rejected the Opposition demand for an adjournment motion on the Enrica Lexie firing incident. CPM’s P K Gurudasan, who moved the demand for the adjournment motion, alleged that the government had adopted a soft stance towards the Italians. The two accused were lodged in plush quarters and the government had failed to arrest the captain of the ship.
‘’Why is the government trembling at the mention of Italians?’’ Gurudasan asked. The Opposition also alleged that the information regarding the distance at which the incident occurred was erroneously included in the FIR. The Chief Minister refuted the allegations saying that the government had succeeded in protecting the state’s interests in this case. ‘’The state’s case is strong,’’ he said. ‘’No one will be able to escape on the premise of immunity under diplomatic relations. The law will take its course. We have evidence to prove that the ship was carrying more than enough weapons. They have not been able to prove the fishing craft had weapons on board. This a heinous crime at sea,’’he said.
The captain of Enrica Lexie was not arrested as part of the investigation, he said. The State Government has not attempted to frame anyone unnecessarily. The government is maintaining transparency on every aspect of the case. ‘’We have said no to a joint investigation. But we don’t have objections to observers,’’ he said.
Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan said that the government’s reply was unsatisfactory, and announced the walk-out, the first of this session.
Coastal Security Home Guards to be set up
The State Government is planning to form a special unit called ‘’Coastal Security Home Guards’’ as part of ensuring the safety of fishermen, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the Assembly on Monday.
Every speed boat at coastal police stations will have four Coastal Security Home Guards drawn from experienced fisherfolk, the Chief Minister said.