External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday appealed to the common public to honour Kerala High Court's Thursday order on Italian marine case in which two Italian marine guards had shot to two Indian fisherman unknowingly on 15th February 2012.
The Kerala High Court Thursday allowed two Italian marine guards charged with killing two Indian fishermen to go home for Christmas.
Responding to reporters on this issue, Khurshid said that India has not gone soft and said the court judgment must be respected.
Asked if the court judgment was an indication of India going soft on the two Italian marines, Khurshid said, "It's neither being harsh nor soft."
"If the court in its wisdom has relaxed some conditions then it is entirely a matter between the court and the petition…… We must respect the court judgment," Khurshid said on the sidelines of the ASEAN-INDIA commemorative summit here Thursday.
The court said the marines - Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone - could be allowed to go provided they return latest by 3 p.m., Jan 10, 2013, and the Indian government allows them to go. A bank guarantee of Rs.6 crore should also be furnished, the Kerala High Court ruled.
The Kerala government had strongly opposed any sort of relaxation and said there was no guarantee that once they reach Italy, the two will return after Christmas to stand trial in India.
The Italian foreign affairs department had said it would ensure that the marines are brought back after Christmas.
The two marines submitted a petition last week to be allowed to go home for Christmas. Massimillano and Girone, who are out on bail and staying in a hotel in Kochi, were allegedly involved in the killing of two Indian fishermen, Ajesh Binki and Gelastine, Feb 15.
The marines mistook the fishermen for pirates and fired at them off the Alappuzha coast.
The two were deployed as the security crew aboard the Italian cargo vessel Enrica Lexie.
Italy's Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paolo had visited the two marines last week.
--With IANS Inputs--