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Asia

2012-03-24

ASIA/INDIA - Orissa and Kerala: momentary crisis between Italy-India but Christians are "optimistic"

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - The cases of the two Italian marines in jail in Kerala and of the two Italians kidnapped in Orissa "cast shadows in the relationship between India and Italy", but Indian Christians "remain optimistic for a happy outcome on both fronts": This is what John Dayal, an Indian Catholic intellectual, human rights activist and Secretary General of the ecumenical organization "All India Christian Council" says to Fides.
In the case of Orissa, the negotiations between rebels and the government has temporarily been suspended between the parties as the tension rose again after recent incidents such as the kidnapping of a congressman in the state of Orissa. Dayal explains: "Despite some obstacles, I believe a solution will be found. The problem of Maoist groups is endemic, but these groups do not use violence against foreigners. They present legitimate petitions and claims about their rights, that the government might listen to. I think at this stage, the Prime Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, should remain behind the scenes and be assisted by expert technicians and mediators: the Premier, in fact, belongs to the nationalist Barathiya Janata Party (BJP) and has never given a good impression to the tribal people".
In terms of the two Italian marines accused of killing the two fishermen, mistaking them for pirates, the picture seems more complicated since the High Court of Kerala has called them "terrorists": "In this case – notes Dayal - it is true that one must follow the courts directions, and wait for the verdicts. But it is also true that diplomacy can still have an important role. As Indian I would suggest Italy to present their apologies to the fishermen’s families and give them a fair compensation, beyond the assessment of responsibility. Such a gesture could soften the Indian public opinion and politics, which is perched on the case. "
In any case, Dayal concludes "I see a passing storm in relations between Italy and India, not a deep political crisis. The people of India are not against Italy. I am confident that both cases will be resolved for the better". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/3/2012)

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