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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

'Katchativu' starring Jayalalitha, Nedumaran

BY Janaka Perera for Asian Tribune

India is duty-bound to take action against the Tamil Nadu publication Kumudam for violating the immigration laws of a friendly country and SAARC member state by getting its reporter Pushkin Rajkumar to enter Katchativu islet on the sly and escape before being detected. An official of an important Sri Lankan state agency expressed this view when the Asian Tribune contacted him. What would be India's reaction if a Sri Lankan journalist resorted to a similar act in Indian territory, he asked, stressing that Delhi should not allow itself to be swayed by Tamil Nadu politics over the Katchativu issue.

Rajakumar was fortunate that he did not suffer the fate of Marie Colvin of London's Sunday Times who crossed into a LTTE dominated area without government permission. She lost an eye when she was caught in Sri Lanka Army-LTTE crossfire while trying to return on the sly to state controlled territory on April 16, 2001.

Rajkumar's entry to the 300-acre islet is obviously linked to a bigger jingoistic show staged in Tamil Nadu in connection with the forthcoming elections. The 'show' is in the form of a call for retrieving Katchativu which the Indian Government ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974. .

SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe yesterday (August 18) remarked that Rajkumar's antics recalled the 'kallathoni' days when the Sri Lankan authorities regularly rounded up illegal immigrants from South India. Conducting the Isira radio channel's daily news discussion program, Samarasinghe observed that with elections round the corner, former TN Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram was now shuffling the pack of political playing cards to select a trump. She has apparently found it in the form of Katchativu.

So now she has vowed to go to courts over the issue of the ownership of this islet, which was settled between the governments of Sri Lanka and India in 1974. Sri Lanka's ownership was re-emphasized in 1984, 1994 and 2004, the SLBC Chairman noted. Nevertheless in a State like TN where herd mentality is a prominent feature, the absurdity of trying to retrieve what was given to Sri Lanka under an internationally recognized treaty will not dawn on the majority those who will vote for Jayalalitha, Nedumaran, Vaiko and company.

However we can well imagine the threat Sri Lanka would have faced if Tamil Nadu State enjoyed greater powers than it is having now. Then even without seceding from the rest of India perhaps TN would be in a position to dictate terms to Delhi on the latter's Sri Lanka policy

Nedumaran's so-called World Tamil Confederation, a proxy LTTE organization has already resolved that Katchativu be retrieved immediately and brought under the Tamil Nadu state government's administration. The performance of Sri Lanka's Tamil National Alliance' on this issue is not even worth citing since it is a disgrace to the parliament in which they are represented and treachery to the land of their birth.

As one reader asked, why does not the Speaker demand an explanation from these jokers? It appears that is only in Sri Lanka these things are possible.

TNA Parliamentarians Mavai Senathirajah and Sivajilingham had participated in the conference as guest speakers on the LTTE's behalf. Instead of calling them guest speakers it would be more appropriate to call them LTTE ventriloquists' puppets.

- Asian Tribune -

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