Stressing that the issue of sovereignty of Katchatheevu should not be treated as "settled," Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct officials to file a revised affidavit reflecting concerns of Tamil Nadu in the Madras High Court in a case related to the issue.
A counter affidavit filed by the External Affairs Ministry in the High Court had stated that the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka "is a settled matter," Jayalalithaa said in a letter to Modi.The affidavit further indicated that "Indian fishermen have no traditional fishing rights" in the area around Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka.
"I was appalled and shocked to read newspaper reports on this. Perhaps this counter affidavit had been approved by the earlier UPA government and the matter was not brought to your personal attention", she said in her letter. She had been repeatedly emphasising in her letters to Modi that the question of sovereignty over Katchatheevu should not be treated as settled, the Chief Minister said.
Jayalalithaa also referred to a memorandum she presented to him on June 3 in Delhi on the issue of retrieving India's sovereignty over the Katchatheevu. There was proof to substantiate that Katchateevu was an integral part of India.
The state Assembly had adopted a resolution in 1991 seeking restoration of the island and a case was filed by her in the Supreme Court on the issue in 2008. The state government later impleaded itself in this case, she said.
Describing as unconstitutional the ceding of Katchatheevu and the fishing grounds in the vicinity to Sri Lanka, she said this had emboldened the Sri Lankan Navy to resort to "frequent attacks on our innocent fishermen who fish in their traditional fishing grounds." She also referred to her request to the Centre to abrogate the 1974 and 1976 agreements with Sri Lanka and retrieve Katchatheevu and restore the traditional fishing rights of the Tamil Nadu fishermen. Even former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had objected in 1974 to the ceding of the island, she noted.