Countering Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s accusation that he was responsible for India handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday said he had never agreed to the cessation agreement and as Chief Minister of the State he had objected to it.
In a statement, Mr. Karunanidhi alleged that Ms. Jayalalithaa had, in 1994, written to then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao saying that “ceding of this tiny island to the island nation had been done by the Government of India in the interest of better bilateral relations.”
Mr. Karunanidhi also said that in another letter to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2003, she said, “the best possible solution is to get the island of Katchatheevu and adjacent seas on lease in perpetuity solely for fishing, drying of nets and pilgrimage. Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over Katchatheevu could be upheld at the same time.”
The DMK chief wondered whether Ms. Jayalalithaa would apologise if he proved the objections he had submitted to the Centre in writing.
Mr. Karunanidhi claimed that when he was Chief Minister, he had made maximum efforts to retrieve Katchatheevu. “But, Ms. Jayalalithaa never even convened an all-party meeting,” he said.
The DMK government had, in 1974 itself, adopted a resolution in the Assembly objecting to ceding of the island to Sri Lanka. Mr. Karunanidhi also recalled his letter expressing his “disappointment over the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement according to which Sri Lanka’s claim on Katchatheevu has been conceded by the Indian government.”
The then DMK MP, Era. Sezhian, had raised objection to the Indian government’s decision in 1974 and Forward Bloc member Mookaiah Thever had said that it was against Constitution, Mr. Karunanidhi recalled. (The Hindu)