DMK hits out on Kachchatheevu

Taking exception to the Indian Centre’s position in the Indian Supreme Court over ceding of Kachchatheevu to Sri Lanka, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Sunday said there was evidence that the islet belonged to and was under the administrative control of the King of Ramanathapuram, the Press Trust of India reported.
The Centre had on Friday submitted in the apex court that no Indian territory, including Kachchatheevu, was ceded to Sri Lanka, and the question of retrieval did not arise.
“.. Centre has submitted information not based on facts in the Supreme Court. The Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court, after Sri Lankan Minister Peiris’ statement last week in Delhi that Kachchatheevu was a closed matter, comes like an vocal accompaniment,” Karunanidhi said in a statement.
“It could stage a setback (for Tamil Nadu) in this issue. Centre’s decision is condemnable. However, since justice and honesty are on Tamil Nadu’s side, we hope that the Supreme Court will pass justice on our side,” he said.
Karunanidhi also referred to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s submission in the Supreme Court that Kachchatheevu belonged to India and it was ceded to Lanka and it was invalid as it was done without necessary Parliamentary approval.
He also referred to the resolution of the Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation, an organisation revived by him last year, to move the apex court on the issue, since the Centre had not gone by Article 368 of the Constitution which mandates Parliamentary approval for any ceding of the country’s territory to another nation.
A Supreme Court bench, comprising, the then Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, Justices FM Ibrahim Kalifullah and Vikramjith Sen had ordered for issuing of notice to the Centre on the plea he had filed on behalf of TESO, Karunanidhi said.
“We are forced to remind the Centre of the long history of Kachchatheevu,” he said.
He said fishermen from Tamil Nadu have been using the islet since ages for drying their nets. Kachchatheevu was under the control of the King of Ramanathapuram, until it was taken on lease by a Dutch company in 1660, he said.
“There are evidences which show that during 1870-73, 1875, 1880, 1889 Ramanathapuram King had given the area next to the islet on lease. References of these in Sri Lankan Governor’s records during 1752-1962 and Sri Lankan Lieutenant Governor’s letter in 1845 show that Kachchatheevu was under the control of the King of Ramanathapuram,” he contended.
It was also recorded in Ramanathapuram District Gazette, he said.