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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2589

Challenging Sri Lanka’s Katchativu ownership before India’s Apex Court

By Ravikumar Balakrishnan in Chennai

New Delhi, 06 January, (Asiantribune.com): AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalitha had filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India to retrieve Katchativu from Sri Lanka.

Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice Sadhasivam yesterday heard the case presented by Advocate Krishnakumar.

Subsequently, India’s apex court has served notice to the Central Government demanding a reply within 4 weeks.

The union government has been urged to retrieve Katchativu. It stated that retrieving the island from Sri Lanka was the only way to protect the interests of Tamil Nadu fishermen. It also questioned the 'silence' of the Union Government over continued attacks on Indian fishermen.

Background information on Katchativu

It may be noted that the DMK went on hunger strike during July 2008 condemning the killing of tamil fishermen by Srilanka in Katchativu. The islet was ceded to Sri Lanka, brushing aside the objection raised by the DMK government in 1974.

The 1974 agreement between India and Sri Lanka included the rights of the Tamil fishermen to fish in and around Katchativu, to pray in the church and to dry the nets, but these concessions were removed when the Emergency was declared in the country. After the DMK government was dismissed, correspondence at the level of officials between Sri Lanka and India led to the rights of Tamil fishermen being deprived in 1976.

A resolution passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly on August 21, 1974, urged Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to respect the feelings of Tamils and retain India’s right over Katchativu. All political parties in Tamil Nadu shared the view. The petitioner and former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Jayalalithaa vowed to get back Katchativu in her Independence Day speech in 1991

On June 29, 1974, the DMK government convened an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. Later, Karunanidhi wrote a letter to the Prime Minister expressing the Tamil Nadu government’s disappointment over the accord between the two countries ceding of Katchativu to Sri Lanka. “May I express the hope that you will take into consideration the unanimous decision contained in the resolution and take appropriate actions,” he had said.

- Asian Tribune –

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