Indian (Kerala) Cardinal intervenes in Italy-India shooting row

via published on February 21, 2012

NEW DELHI : An Indian(Kerala)cardinal on Tuesday urged local authorities in Kerala not to take precipitate action in a row between Italy and India and warned the opposition against trying to exploit the situation.

“I immediately contacted the Catholic ministers to ask the Kerala government not to take precipitate action,” George Alencherry, archbishop major of the Syro-Malabar Church in Kerala, told Catholic news agency Fides in Rome.

Police in the southern Indian state of Kerala on Sunday arrested two Italian soldiers deployed as security guards on an Italian-flagged oil tanker for allegedly shooting dead two Indian fishermen they mistook for pirates.

“It seems that the opposition wants to exploit the situation and manipulate it for political motives by talking about ‘Western powers’ and ‘the drive for American domination’,” Alencherry was quoted by Fides as saying.

Kerala is governed by a coalition led by the Congress Party which is presided by the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi. The opposition is a coalition between the Left Democratic Front and the Communist Party of India.

Alencherry was formally made a cardinal along with 21 other prelates by Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony in St Peter’s basilica on Saturday.
He was accompanied by Kerala native K.V. Thomas, a minister of state in the ministry of agriculture and in the ministry of consumer affairs.
Thomas “is a man of great moral stature and significant influence, both in the local and in the central government, who has assured me of his maximum effort. I guarantee my constant attention in the coming days,” Alencherry said.

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