DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Sunday described as “highly condemnable” the affidavit filed by the Centre in the Supreme Court stating that Katchatheevu was a matter of dispute between British India and Sri Lanka in the absence of an agreed boundary.
The Centre had also said the question of retrieval of the island did not arise as no territory belonging to India was ceded to Sri Lanka, in response to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s petition seeking to declare as unconstitutional the 1974 and 1976 maritime boundary agreements between New Delhi and Colombo.
“The stand of the Centre has shocked the people of Tamil Nadu,” Mr Karunanidhi and recalled a resolution adopted at TESO conference which termed as illegal the ceding of the island since the proposal was not placed before Parliament.
Mr Karunaidhi said Katchatheevu was under the Ramanathapuram Zamin’s control and it was given to a Dutch company on lease. “According to the memoirs of a Sri Lankan governor, the Zamin gave Sangu island to the Dutch company on lease in 1870-83, 1875, 1880 and 1889. An agreement signed by the king of Kandy and a letter written by the Sri Lankan Lieutenant General clearly proved that the island was under the control of Ramanathapuram Zamin,” he said. Mr Karunanidhi said when India got Independence, the island had survey number 1250 in Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. “When External Affairs Minister Swaran Singh tabled the agreement in Parliament in 1974, DMK’s Era Sezhiyan vehemently opposed it. Forward Bloc member Mookaiah Thevar said it was unconstitutional,” he said.
He also recalled that.B. Vajapayee had said India had secret negotiations in this regard with Sri Lanka to promote good relations.
Mr Karunanidhi said the land became India’s property after Independence and the documents with the sub-registrar office proved this.