The family of a man who died by suicide has claimed that he was on a fishing boat that came under fire from Italian marines eight years ago when he was 14-years-old and has appealed to the Centre to get ₹100 crore compensation from Italy.
After witnessing the firing by the marines from oil tanker “Enrica Lexie”, which killed two fishermen on February 15, 2012 off the Kerala coast, Prijin A was terrified and had sustained some minor injuries, the family claimed in its July 6 plea addressed to the Union Cabinet Secretary.
They said Prijin became very disturbed and subsequently fell into depression and eventually ended his life in July last year.
According to the family, hailing from Kanjampuram in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, Prijin was a victim of the Enrica Lexie incident.
The eight member family, comprising Prijin’s 59-year old mother and sisters, appealed to the Centre to take steps to obtain compensation “for the violation done against him” from Italy under the terms of the findings of an Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the UN Convention on The Law of The Sea.
Prijin was “not provided the protection entitlements of being a child aged 14 years as per International child rights law and Indian Constitution by the Republic of India and Republic of Italy,” the family said in their petition to the Secretary, submitted through an advocate engaged by them.
He was engaged as a crew member on board the fishing vessel “St Antony” by its owner Fredy so as to help other fishermen and also for cooking.
After the incident, he was rushed to the shore in another Indian fishing boat, the family said.
On reaching the Kerala coast, Prijin, as directed by the boat owner, went to his house.
Thereafter he seemed very disturbed without having proper sleep and used to hurriedly wake up and also shout while asleep.
Fredy had visited Prijin several times and assured that necessary measures were being taken for getting justice for him, the family claimed.
There was neither medical assistance nor psychological counselling to the child, who had witnessed “cold-blooded murder” of Ajeesh Pink, (also his friend and neighbour) and another fisherman, Jelastine.
The move by the family has come nearly a week after the Hague-headquartered Permanent Court of Arbitration Tribunal upheld the conduct of the Indian authorities in the Enrica Lexie case, in which the marines were accused of killing two Indian fishermen.
While stating that India was entitled to get compensation in the case, the tribunal had held that the marines cannot be prosecuted due to the official immunity enjoyed by them.
The counsel for the family said the compensation amount claimed by his clients is “by keeping liberty to approach appropriate forum (domestic and international) for the gross violation of natural justice and international human rights law done against Prijin,” and the family’s “is reasonably calculated as Rs 100 crore.”