DMK for new pact with Colombo over Katchathivu

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CHENNAI - Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK Thursday demanded a new agreement with Sri Lanka to ensure that Indian fishermen got safe access to the Katchathivu island that was ceded to Colombo in 1974.

Following the killing of fishermen from Tamil Nadu in the sea when they were going to Katchathivu, anger has been soaring in the state against Sri Lanka.

At a meeting at the DMK headquarters here, the party’s all-powerful General Council passed a resolution calling for a new pact with Sri Lanka giving rights to Indian fishermen to fish near Katchatheevu.

Tamil Nadu’s fishing community accused the Sri Lanka Navy of killing two fishermen from the state on Jan 12 and 22. The navy denied its involvement in the killings.

India ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974 the Katchathivu island, which measures 285 acres (1.15 km) and is located in the narrow sea dividing the two countries.

The island is home to a sacred Roman Catholic church. The sea round it is rich in marine life. This has often led to clashes between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.

Sri Lankan security forces have been accused of killing fishermen from Tamil Nadu approaching Katchathivu although the 1974 accord gives them the right to dry their nets on the island.

In another resolution, the DMK urged the central government to explore ways to guarantee equal powers to the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka and also to ensure the speedy rehabilitation of the war displaced Tamils.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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