Did Modi raise Katchatheevu issue with Sri Lanka even once in the last 10 years, asks Stalin

Mr. Modi was now raking up the issue of the retrieval of the Katchatheevu island in view of the Lok Sabha poll, he claimed

April 03, 2024 05:55 am | Updated 08:08 am IST - VELLORE

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin addressed a public meeting in Vellore on April 2, 2024.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin addressed a public meeting in Vellore on April 2, 2024. | Photo Credit: C. Venkatachalapathy

DMK president and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on April 2 sought to know whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of the retrieval of the Katchatheevu island with his Sri Lankan counterpart even once during his 10-year rule.

Mr. Modi was now raking up the issue in view of the Lok Sabha poll, he claimed.

Addressing a public meeting at Vellore Fort in support of his party’s candidates, D.M. Kathir Anand (Vellore) and S. Jagathrakshakan (Arakkonam), Mr. Stalin said that Mr. Modi would have visited the Island nation several times as Prime Minister, but never raised the Katchatheevu issue on behalf of affected fishermen in Tamil Nadu. He wondered if Mr. Modi had at least condemned the arrest of Tamil fishermen and the impounding of their boats by Sri Lanka.

“Two years ago, when the Prime Minister visited Chennai, I gave him a list of demands. The retrieval of Katchatheevu was on top of the list. What happened to it,” he asked.

Mr. Stalin countered his critics on the issue by listing the initiatives taken by the DMK in Parliament and beyond. Its MPs had raised the issue in both Houses of Parliament, but did not get a proper response from the Centre, he said.

The Centre was not even willing to discuss the issue including the suffering of fishermen on the floors of Parliament by saying the case (Katchatheevu Island) is before the court.

“As per reports, China has renamed 30 villages in Arunachal Pradesh in its language (Mandarin) claiming them as their territory. Mr. Modi remains a mute spectator for China’s intrusion and Sri Lankan’s blatantness,” Mr. Stalin charged.

‘Canada Connect’

Citing the “support” for welfare schemes launched by his government, Mr. Stalin said the Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme has become very popular, making not only other States in the country replicate it in their schools but also overseas. For example, the scheme has been introduced by the Government of Canada in its schools this month.

“I came to know about Canada’s initiative through social media. I was happy that the scheme brought by the DMK government is travelling beyond borders,” he said. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had posted on X: “As a teacher, I know kids learn better on a full stomach. Our new National School Food Program will make sure kids aren’t going to school hungry – and will give every student a fair shot at doing their best in the classroom.”

Mr Stalin contended that unlike the AIADMK, his party has stood as a guardian for the rights and welfare of minorities. Be it to oppose Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) or restoration of financial assistance for students from minorities, the DMK government has always stood for them. “Once INDIA bloc comes to power at the Centre after Lok Sabha elections, we will ensure that CAA will be repealed like the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which the DMK did successfully,” he said.

Terming the upcoming Lok Sabha elections remains crucial to save Indian democracy including its federal structure from becoming dictatorial, Mr. Stalin said despite having served as a Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Modi as the Prime Minister does not want any States in the country to survive especially social and economical terms by denying States rightful financial claims for its funds. The electoral bonds have only exposed BJP’s true colours against corruption by becoming its largest beneficiary, he charged. “The BJP has realised that people are angry against their rule. Arrests of (Delhi Chief Minister) Arvind Kejriwal and (former Jharkhand CM) Hemant Soren by Central agencies are only reflection of this realisation by BJP,” he contended.

On the occasion, senior DMK leaders, including Ministers Duraimurugan, E. V. Velu and R. Gandhi were present.

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