Congress, DMK colluded to cede Katchatheevu Island from India to SL: TN BJP chief Annamalai

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Chennai, March 31 (IANS) Tamil Nadu BJP President, K. Annamalai, has charged that the Congress and DMK colluded to cede the Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka.

Turning the tables on the INDIA block over the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Annamalai said on ‘X’ that he had received documents as per his RTI application on the Katchatheevu issue and found how callously the Congress party had allowed a portion of ‘Bharat’ to be taken away by Sri Lanka.

The BJP leader said that the first Prime Minister of the country, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had on May 10, 1961, dismissed the issue as inconsequential and added that he had no hesitation in giving up claims to the island.

Annamalai said that as per the documents available, Nehru had then written, “I would have no hesitation in giving up our claims to it. I do not like this pending indefinitely and being raised again in parliament.”

The BJP leader stated that a highly respected legal brain of India, then attorney general, C.S. Setalvad, had in 1960 said that India had a stronger claim on the island and had claimed that the East India Company had given the zamindari rights of the island to Raja of Ramnad (Ramanathapuram).

Annamalai also said that the then Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs (Law and Treaties) Krishna Rao had also concluded that India had a good legal case and could be argued with considerable force.

He said that the then opposition had chided the government of India for not standing up to the statements of then Ceylon PM DS Senanayake in their parliament, and of local functionaries that Katchatheevu was their part.

The BJP leader said that after the foreign secretary-level talks in 1973 in Colombo, the decision to relinquish India’s claims was conveyed to then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi by the Indian foreign secretary Kewal Singh in June 1974. Annamalai said that as per the records, Karunanidhi had also given concurrence.

The BJP leader said that there was a clause in the agreement that the Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu could use Katchatheevu and that they could dry their nets there. This, according to Annamalai, was to prevent any uprising by fishermen’s community but he added that after a year this article was revoked.

He said that the Congress and DMK colluded to give away the piece of land to Sri Lanka without even taking any measures to prevent losing it.



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