AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa on Monday said the gifting away of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka was not only a mistake but also erroneous in law.

In a statement here, she said it had been done without taking the fishing community of Tamil Nadu into confidence and without obtaining the clearance of Parliament.

"Most unfortunate"

Describing as "most unfortunate" the statement of External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna that Katchatheevu belongs to Sri Lanka, at a time when the matter was before the Supreme Court, she wanted to know whether the Minister was really abreast of the facts.

Alleging that India's policy was one of indifference from the days of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, she said it was this singularly uninformed approach that led New Delhi to look upon Katchatheevu as "a minor irritant" in its relations with Sri Lanka.

She said while India conceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in order to attain the "greater objective of mending fences with its southern neighbour", it never took into consideration the consequences of such an act on the thousands of Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu.

"Overnight, this large community, for whom fishing is their sole means of livelihood, found that the island they thought was theirs now belonged to another country," she added.