Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK General Secretary J Jayalalithaa today vowed to retrieve Katchatheevu island ceded to Sri Lanka and restore the traditional fishing rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen in Palk Bay, if elected to power.
Addressing an election rally at Aruppukottai in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa said the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen under the pretext of cross-border fishing by Lankan navy is still continuing.
Stating that ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka was the main reason for the continuous arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen, the chief minister said, “whenever our fishermen were arrested, I exert pressure on the Centre for their release.”
Taking a jibe at DMK President M. Karunanidhi, she accused him of doing nothing in 1974, during his tenure, when Katchatheevu was transferred to Lanka.
“Instead, Karunanidhi then said the fishermen indulged in cross-border because of their greedy attitude. Had he (Karunanidhi) moved the Supreme Court (SC), citing the Berubari judgement, by which the SC ruled against ceding of the area to East Pakistan, Mr Karunanidhi could have got an interim stay on the Katchatheevu issue,” she lamented.
Jayalalithaa recalled that the Apex Court in 1960 on Berubari issue had held that any land belonging to India could be ceded to another country only with the approval of Parliament and with a constitutional amendment. Hence, Berubari still remains an integral part of India.
But, Karunanidhi kept a stoic silence when India ceded Katchatheevu to Lanka. Why had he not moved the Apex Court on Katchatheevu issue ? the AIADMK generalsecretary queried.
Charging that Karunanidhi had betrayed the Tamil Nadu people on Katchatheevu imbroglio, the Chief Minister demanded that Karunanidhi provide an explanation to the people of Tamil Nadu. (Colombo Gazette)