Jayalalithaa: Karuna gifted island to Sri Lanka

AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa on Friday accused DMK leader M. Karunanidhi of being instrumental in the handing over of the Katchatheevu islet to Sri Lanka. Addressing a huge gathering at Aruppukkottai in Virudhunagar district, Ms Jayalalithaa ridiculed the DMK promise of retrieving Katchatheevu, which is featured in the party’s election manifesto.

Dealing with the subject in elaborate fashion, she listed out the efforts she has been taking since 1991 to get back the islet, traditionally used by fishermen of the southern districts.

Mr Karunanidhi, who she claimed colluded with the then Congress government at the Centre in making Katchatheevu over to Sri Lanka, was branding the TN fishermen as “greedy persons” for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line for fishing, she said. Katchatheevu was handed over to Lanka when the DMK was in power in 1974, but Mr Karunanidhi declined to approach the Supreme Court to retrieve the island, Ms Jayalalithaa said.

Referring to the SC judgment in the 1960s on the Berubari dispute, she said even when the Indian government decided to give Berubari in West Bengal to East Pakistan, the SC ruled that any part of the nation can be giving to another country only if both Houses of the Parliament ratify it, besides making an amendment in the Constitution. Mr Karunanidhi neither used this order to retain the island in 1974 nor supported the AIADMK when she filed a petition in the court in 2008 to retrieve it, she pointed out.

When the top court issued notice to the state and Centre on her petition (2008), Mr Karunanidhi, instead of filing a petition in her support, evaded the issue altogether stating he would file the counter only after knowing the Centre’s view, she said.

However, the then UPA government in which DMK was a constituent, filed a counter saying passing of resolution on the subject was not necessary. “It only shows Karunanidhi was hand-in-glove with the Centre,” she said.

But when AIADMK Government assumed power in 2011, she got a resolution passed in the Assembly to retrieve the island and also impleaded the TN government as a party in the court, she said. “I will continue to fight to get back the Katchatheevu island and safeguard the traditional rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen,” she said.

On prohibition, Jayalalithaa said that DMK doesn’t have the locus standi to take up the issue because it was Karunanidhi who lifted prohibition in the state when he was CM in 1971. She assured the public that she would implement prohibition in a phased manner.

Jayalalithaa also elaborated on the various welfare schemes that the AIADMK government implemented during the last five years in Virudhunagar, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram and Sivaganga districts. She also introduced the AIADMK candidates of 14 assembly constituencies in the four districts.

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