Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M. Karunanidhi said: "The stand of the central government in the Supreme Court is condemnable. At a time when all were hoping for a good verdict based on documents, the central government's affidavit declaring that Katchatheevu is inside the maritime boundary of Sri Lanka has come as a thunderbolt."
Recalling the debate in parliament when copies of the agreement between India and Sri Lanka were tabled in 1974, Karunanidhi said there was stiff opposition to the accord.
Under the treaty of 1974, Indian fishermen do not have right to fishing around the island as it is within the territorial waters of Sri Lanka. Indian fishermen are only allowed to dry their nets and use Church for religious observance.
He said members belonging to the DMK, Forward Block and leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the Bharatiya Janata Party had opposed the agreement then.
"The Tamil Nadu assembly in 1974 passed a resolution urging the central government to take a relook at the agreement," Karunanidhi recalled.
He said the central government by concealing these facts has given false information to the Supreme Court in its affidavit.
Karunanidhi said Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa had filed a case in the apex court to declare ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka as unconstitutional as parliament had not ratified the pact.
Karunanidhi has filed a similar case this year in the apex court and the latter has issued notice to the central government as there are documents proving Katchatheevu belonged to King Sethupathi (1671 AD to 1710 AD) of Ramanathapuram (in present-day Tamil Nadu).
Meanwhile, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) also expressed concern and worry at the central government's stand on the issue at its executive committee meeting.
The party said the Tamil Nadu government had submitted to the central government necessary documents proving the Indian ownership of the island and people of the state could not tolerate the latter's stand.
State secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) D. Pandian said the Sri Lankan Navy has been attacking and killing Indian fishermen daily.
Katchatheevu island is located in the narrow sea (Palk Straits) dividing the two countries. The sea is rich in marine life which has often led to clashes between fishermen of the two countries.
--IANS (Posted on 01-09-2013)