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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2588

Kumudam - an Indian Tamil Magazine, aided and abetted its reporter to enter Katchativu illegally

Colombo, 17 August, (Asiantribune.com): Kumudam a weekly Tamil journal has sent illegally one of its reporter – ‘Pushkin Rajkumar’ to Katchativu – an island belongs to Sri Lanka, without obtaining the necessary clearance from the Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and visas to enter.Kumudam report on KatchativuKumudam report on Katchativu

Normally anyone entering a foreign country, until otherwise there is a visa waver clearly stated, must have to obtain necessary entry visa to enter into that country or into any territory belonging to that particular country.

Katchativu, according to the International Border Agreement entered with India is a territory of Sri Lanka. In 1974 as well as in 1976, Indian Government has confirmed as well as reconfirmed that the island of Katchativu is a territory belonging to Sri Lanka. Therefore the ignorance of Kumudam is not something to be condoned of.

An Indian national who wishes to enter into Sri Lankan territory – Katchativu, must have to obtain necessary visa. This is implicitly clear by the 1976 International Border Agreement Sri Lanka entered with India. Accordingly, citizens of India residing in India have to apply for a visa to Sri Lanka in person at the nearest consulate of Sri Lanka in India to enter Katchativu, a Sri Lankan territory.

Asian Tribune contacted Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commission in Chennai whether it issued any visas to any reporters or writers of Kumudam weekly magazine to enter Katchativu. Mr. P.M. Amza, Sri Lanka’s Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, told Asian Tribune that no one by the name mentioned in the Kumudam has applied for visa to enter Katchativu.

Furthermore, Asian Tribune learnt that any journalist wanted to visit Sri Lanka or any part of Sri Lanka must have to obtain clearance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain the necessary visa. This procedure applies even to any journalist wanted to obtain visa to enter India, as well as to many First World countries including United States of America. No journalists are given visa to enter many countries without the clearance of that particular country’s foreign Ministry.

Also, Sri Lanka Government has declared its territorial waters in the Palk Bay as security zone since 27 March 2006 and vessels entering into the Sri Lanka waters are strictly prohibited due to security reasons of the country.

This clearly indicates Kumudam, a popular Tamil weekly magazine has violated laws connected with the entry into the Sri Lankan territory. It further indicates that Kumudam has aided and abetted a crime by allowing its reporter to enter into Sri Lankan territory without obtaining the required visas and failed to follow the procedures laid down by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry regarding the issue of visas to journalists.

Sources in Sri Lanka told Asian Tribune that Sri Lanka government should not continue to ‘grin and endure’ the illegal activities especially of Kumudam and its reporter for entering into Sri Lankan territory without proper visa and permission from the Sri Lankan government. They urged that a criminal suit has to be filed in a court in Sri Lanka for criminal trespassing of Sri Lankan territory willfully, based on the first person testimony of the reporter, which is published in the magazine and the editor, publisher and the reporter have to be indicted for their crimes.

Already hundreds of Indian fishermen are daily entering the Sri Lankan waters for poaching. Tamil Nadu political leaders are aiding and abetting Indian fishermen to poach in the Sri Lankan waters.

Now it is Kumudam aiding and abetting its reporter to enter into a territory belonging to Sri Lanka and posting a report about the visit of its reporter and his accomplices in its latest publication dated 20 August, 2008, which has already hit the stand.

Given below the full text of the report – English translation, that appeared in Kumudam of dated 20 August, 2008”

Kumudam report on KatchativuKumudam report on Katchativu

KUMUDAM

20-08-2008

Kachchativu in war-field silence!
– Pushkin Rajakumar

Today’s Kachchativu !
Direct visit of our correspondent

"Can we go? Can’t assure of our return if we go? Sri Lankan army might shoot us when we go: our army might shoot us while returning. We can identify the territory in which we sail, only by looking at the direction from which the gun firings sounds are heard…. I am not just telling this to scare you. Because I myself had suffered a bullet injury"…. Michael says while removing his shirt and showing his shoulder injury. Doctors had operated and taken out a bullet which pierced his left shoulder.

The words of Thankatchimadam Michael, who says, "The firing of the Sinhala army had taken place when we were fishing inside our waters near Kachchativu. Pain exists even now. We could not go for fishing. Now you think, as to whether you want to visit Kachchativu, even after hearing this. The Sinhala army has killed more than 500 Tamils so far and thousands (of Tamils) are subjected to tortures in Sri Lankan jails even now. The Sinhala army has drowned more than 400 boats in mid-sea so far", describing Kachchativu as Achathivu (Island of fear) has created a slight fear in our hearts. In fact, the signature of the Sinhala army on Michael’s hip - for no fault of him – which had become a scare, had slightly frightened us indeed.

We camped in Rameshwaram for 1 week but no one came to cooperate with us for our venture. Finally, three youths, who occasionally go for fishing, came forward to help us and they were keeping Identity cards issued by the government as well.

As they had "Fishermen identity cards" issued by the government, they could visit our (Indian) boundary near Kachchativu and come back. But it is a risk by all means, for us to go with those fishermen. However they did not bother about it.

They have also encouraged us in cine actor Vadivelu’s style. When they told us “We are ready to come with you, provided if you are ready to risk your lives”, we boarded their boat at 4 am early morning.

Even though we had moved to a ‘fisherman’s” getup by wearing dhothi, shirt and tied a shawl on our head, we got scared whenever we saw patrolling boats on the way…. On one occasion, a Coast Guard patrolling vessel went past our boat at a close distance and within few seconds, another naval helicopter flew above us at a low range and crossed us.

Kachchativu, when it was seen from a far distance, looked like "a green Kovanam (inner garment) which went missing while bathing in a river". We, on reaching ashore and stepping on the Island, got the happiness of winning back a nation. …

The total area of the Island is about 300 acres only. The properties of our politicians might be several times more than this Island area. There are small trees, bushes and palm trees all around the Island. St. Anthony’s Church is the only building available there. It is also a 40’x20’ size asbestos-roofed building only. It is a surprise that the building stands tall in spite of showing a brave face to Tsunamis and cyclones.

When we thought that we too were standing alone, like St. Anthony, in an island which has no human habitat, a kind of loneliness filled our hearts. We roamed around the Island extensively, but could not see any traces of visits of larger groups of people in recent times. "No one is coming here even for St. Anthony’s feast now", said one of the fishermen, who accompanied us.

"Even Sri Lanka, which got this Island after a stiff fight, had not done anything, which was either constructive or useful to the fishermen of both the countries, in the last 24 years of its custody. It has been using Kachchativu only as a 'killing field' to kill our Tamil Nadu fishermen, by citing 'boundary problems' as reason. No useful thing is going to take place for the fishermen, until Sri Lanka keeps this Island in its custody", grumbled another fisherman who accompanied us.

As we had spent more than two hours in the Island and wanted to leave it before the Sri Lankan patrolling vessels return to see our boat, we got ready to leave the Island in a hurry. However we wanted to worship St. Anthony before our departure and entered the Church. We saw Jesus, The symbol of mercy, in the loneliness of the battlefield…... Then only we felt guilty of not bringing a candle as we could have lighted it before Him while worshipping.. Then only we saw an Hurricane Lamp (kerosene lamp), glowing in the afternoon light. Who has lighted that lamp? Even though it was rusty, some one has wiped-off its glass and lighted it. "Whoever passes through Kachchativu, they used to visit St. Anthony’s Church, light the lamp and sweep the church cleanly. They believe that, if they do it, then St. Antony’s will come by their side and protect their lives. Someone, with the same belief might have visited the Church and lighted the lamp just before our arrival here", said the accompanying fishermen.

The efforts of these innocent fishing folks - that of lighting a lamp for their part to chase away darkness even amidst causalities of human lives – still continues only.

- Asian Tribune -

Also Read:

1. Hands off Katchativu

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