KOCHI: The Republic of Italy and the Latin Catholic dioceses of Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram were instrumental in settling the compensation issue in the Enrica Lexie case. It was after a month that they were able to strike a deal with the family members of the slain fishermen—Valentine Jalastine and Ajeesh Pink
Top priests from Italy Don Giuseppe Faraci and Don Maro Bresseiani visited each of the two fishermen family.
This paved the way for the final settlement.
The visit of the two Italian priests had triggered rumours of an attempt for an out-of-the-court settlement. There were reports that conciliatory talks were held between the Italian authorities and the families of the deceased fishermen, which were mediated by the Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram Latin Catholic dioceses.
However, the counsel of Jalastine family C Unnikrishnan said that the out-of-the-court settlement had started from April first week itself. Italy, which was fed-up with various petitions against them by the victim’s kin, finally had approached for settlement. “The three member Italian team which included Italian Defence Chief of Cabinet Pasqualne Prezuosa had met us at Kollam Beach Hotel and discussed the settlement. In the beginning they offered `25 lakh, but we rejected. After negotiation and a marathon discussion, the Italians agreed to settle the claim for Rs 1 crore each,” he added.
The Italian representatives then approached the family members of the second slain fisherman Ajeesh Pink. The discussion was held at Hotel South Park, Thiruvananthapuram. According to sources the family members were not ready for a settlement. However, they agreed at last after they knew that the family members of Jalastine had settled the issue. Fr Churchill and Fr Wilfred of Erayumanthura parish to which Pink belonged were also present at the hotel. The agreement was signed by the family members with Italy before the Lok Adalat with the consent of The Kerala High Court.
“We believe in god and that’s the only reason why we decided to accept the offer put forward by the Italians. We pardoned them and signed the documents as per their instructions,” Fr Churchil said after signing the pact. The victims’ relatives made it clear that they don’t want the accused to be prosecuted. “We pray to Jesus that the ordeals of the marines may end at the earliest,” the statement said.
The Italian marines ordeal is expected to end soon as they stand to benefit from the statement issued by the victims’ kin.