Public has right to know how Katchatheevu island was given to Sri Lanka: S Jaishankar | India News

NEW DELHI: External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Monday lashed out at the Congress and DMK saying that the parties approached the Katchatheevu issue as though they “bear no responsibility”. He emphasized on the matter that the public has the right to know how Katchatheevu was given away.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Jaishankar said, “We know who did this, what we don’t know is who hid it…Public has the right to know how Katchatheevu island was given to Sri Lanka, why even the fishing rights of Indian fishermen were also given up in 1976 after giving an assurance to the Parliament that fishing rights of Indians in the 1974 agreement have been safeguarded.”
“In 1974, India and 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,” he added.
He further said that India needs to sit with Sri Lankan authorities and find a solution.
Highlighting the background of the issue, Jaishankar said, “In the last 20 years, 6184 Indian fishermen have been detained by Sri Lanka and 1175 Indian fishing vessels have been seized, detained, or apprehended by Sri Lanka. This is the background of the issue that we are discussing.”
Calling it a “live issue” and not something that surfaced “suddenly”, Jaishankar said, “The then CM of Tamil Nadu has written to me numerous times. And my record shows that to the current CM, I have replied 21 times on this issue. This is not an issue that has suddenly surfaced. This is a live issue.”
“It is an issue that has been very much debated in parliament and in Tamil Nadu circles. It has been the subject of correspondence between the union government and the state government,” he added.
He also said, “DMK questions handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, claims Tamil Nadu govt not consulted; fact is it was kept fully informed.”

Lashing out at Congress & DMK for their attitude towards the issue, he said, “Congress & DMK have approached this matter as though they have no responsibility for this.”
“As though the situation is for today’s central government to resolve, there is no history to this, this has just happened, they are the people who are taking up the cause; that is the way they would like to project it,” he added.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi cited a Times of India report and slammed DMK on the Katchatheevu island issue, saying the new details emerging on the matter have “unmasked” the party’s double standards.
The development comes a day after the PM came down heavily on the Congress party and the DMK for giving away the Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka during the tenure of the Indira Gandhi government in 1974. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Katchatheevu deal has infuriated people, adding that the Congress can never be trusted.


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