Vaiko Urges Central Government For Retrieval Of Katchatheevu

BJP ally MDMK today pressed that India should retrieve Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by way of two agreements in 1974 and 1976, saying the move will guarantee livelihood of Indian fishermen.

MDMK chief Vaiko's comments came a day after Central Goverment submitted in the Madras High Court that the islet in Palk Strait was a sovereign property of Sri Lanka and the 1974 and 1976 agreements between India and Sri Lanka do not confer any fishing rights on fishermen from India.

He said the attacks on and arrests of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu by Sri Lankan navy continued unabated despite change of guard at New Delhi and while expectations were high that New Delhi should take a firm and decisive stand on this issue, Central Government's latest submission "added insult to injury."

He also said the agreement signed in 1976 did not have cabinet approval or that of the Parliament and therefore "is not binding" on Indian fishermen.

"Retrieval of Katchatheevu is the only solution to guarantee livelihood of fishermen and ensure their safety," he said in a statement here.

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