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Business News/ News / Katchatheevu Island row: Jaishankar lashes out at Cong, DMK, says ‘6,184 fishermen, 1,175 vessels detained by Sri Lanka’
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Katchatheevu Island row: Jaishankar lashes out at Cong, DMK, says ‘6,184 fishermen, 1,175 vessels detained by Sri Lanka’

Katchatheevu island row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar mounted a scathing attack on the Congress and the DMK over the Katchatheevu issue, as the row over the ceding of the island to Sri Lanka in 1974 escalated in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls.

Katchatheevu island row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed the Cong and the DMK over the Katchatheevu issue, saying the ceding of the island to Sri Lanka resulted in seizure, detention or apprehension of a large number of Indian fishermen and fishing vessels. (Ishant)Premium
Katchatheevu island row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slammed the Cong and the DMK over the Katchatheevu issue, saying the ceding of the island to Sri Lanka resulted in seizure, detention or apprehension of a large number of Indian fishermen and fishing vessels. (Ishant)

Katchatheevu island row: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has slammed the Congress and ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over the Katchatheevu island issue, saying ceding it to Sri Lanka resulted in the seizure, detention, or apprehension of a large number of Indian fishermen and fishing vessels by the island nation.

In a scathing attack on the Congress and the DMK, he said: "In 1974, India & Sri Lanka concluded an agreement where they drew a maritime boundary, and in drawing the maritime boundary, Katchatheevu was put on the Sri Lankan side of the boundary." 

Also read: PM Modi, Kangana Ranaut slam Congress as Katchatheevu row gains ground, Opposition asks 'why didn't BJP...?'

Jaishankar remarked, “This is the background of the issue that we are discussing. In the last five years, the Katchatheevu issue and the fisherman's issue have been repeatedly raised by various parties in Parliament."

The Katchatheevu row pertains to how the uninhabited expanse became part of the island nation in 1974 after then PM Indira Gandhi greenlit the Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement. The 163-acre island, traditionally used by fishermen from both countries, was initially part of the Madras Presidency.

Also read: ‘Eye opening’: PM Modi lashes out at Congress for giving away Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka

He pointed out that the Katchatheevu issue had been a key issue during parliament questions, debates and in the consultative committee.

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, had written to the Centre numerous times and that he had responded and attended to queries regarding the same issue to the current CM, M K Stalin, 21 times, Jaishankar pointed out.

Also read: Katchatheevu row: PM Modi calls out DMK's ‘double standard’, says ‘...did nothing to safeguard Tamil Nadu’s interests'

Jaishankar said this issue has not suddenly surfaced, but was a ‘live issue'. "It is an issue which has been very much debated in Parliament and in Tamil Nadu. It has been the subject of correspondence between the union government and the state government."

Jaishankar accused political parties in Tamil Nadu of adopting double standards. "The Congress and the DMK, have approached this matter as though they have no responsibility for it, " he pointed out.

Also read: Where is Katchatheevu island and why is it at the centre of a BJP-Congress clash?

 “As though the situation is for today's central government to resolve… (and) this has just happened, and they are the people who are taking up the cause; that is the way they would like to project it."

“We now know not only who did it but also who hid it," the union minister remarked.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also flayed the ruling DMK, accusing it of being a mute spectator on the issue. 
“The party has done nothing to safeguard Tamil Nadu’s interests," Modi said.

Responding to the row, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said Katchatheevu island was given to Sri Lanka as part of a friendly agreement in 1974, and reminded Modi that the NDA government had also undertaken a similar "friendly gesture" towards Bangladesh, pertaining to border enclaves.
 

(With agency inputs)

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Published: 01 Apr 2024, 09:32 AM IST
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