Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has taken a strong stance against the Modi government’s perceived lack of action in addressing the continued attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. He highlights the historical claim that Katchatheevu rightfully belongs to India, echoing the assertion made by his late father and former chief minister M Karunanidhi.
Retrieving Katchatheevu: A Perceived Solution
Speaking at a fishermen’s welfare conference in Ramanathapuram, Stalin emphasizes that the retrieval of Katchatheevu, an island ceded to Sri Lanka through mutual agreements in 1974, is the definitive solution to the ongoing fishermen’s issue. He further supports this position by referring to his father’s report, presented to the Centre, which establishes India’s ownership of Katchatheevu.
A Historical Perspective
The island, situated between Rameswaram in India and Sri Lanka, has historically been utilized by both Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen for resting and drying their nets. However, in 1974, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi accepted Katchatheevu as Sri Lankan territory under the “Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement.”
Escalating Attacks and Call for Action
Stalin alleges that attacks on Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by the Sri Lankan navy have intensified during the current NDA regime. The conference unequivocally condemns the harassment of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy. Stalin’s remarks come in response to PM Modi’s statement attributing the cession of Katchatheevu to the Indira Gandhi government in 1974.
Political Discourse and Diplomatic Efforts
During a debate on a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, PM Modi criticizes the Congress and asserts that the DMK government in Tamil Nadu consistently urges him to recover the island. This reference is made in the context of Stalin’s call to raise the issue of Katchatheevu’s retrieval during Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to New Delhi.
Stalin, in his letter, claims that the island’s cession in 1974 took place without the consent of the state government. He urges the Centre to initiate diplomatic endeavors to regain control over Katchatheevu. The Chief Minister underlines that the Tamil Nadu government and the DMK have championed the rights and aspirations of Tamils in Sri Lanka since 1956.
Tamil Nadu CM Stalin’s firm stance underscores the significance of addressing the plight of Indian fishermen and reclaiming Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka. As this issue continues to resonate on both regional and national fronts, the historical context and political dimensions surrounding the matter remain subjects of active discourse.
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