Posters advocating Karaikal’s merger with Tamil Nadu fail to strike a chord 

Posters that had been pasted across Karaikal town recently seeking merger of the enclave of Puducherry with Tamil Nadu has, instead, rekindled the demand of the residents for Union Territory status.

Public welfare organisations, while terming the demand raised in the name of Karaikal Tamil Nadu Inaippom Iyakkam for a referendum on the issue as "unconstitutional and illegal" have, on their part, reiterated the demand for grant of Union Territory status for Karaikal by the Central government.

"The neglect of Karaikal by the Puducherry government is indeed a grave issue. But the question of Karaikal losing its identity of an erstwhile French colony does not arise, Convenor of Karaikal Struggle Group (KSG), S. P. Selvashanmugam, said.

The KSG has been raising the demand for a Union Territory status for Karaikal for decades. The demand was raised vociferously when Telengana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh. Also, when Statehood was granted for Goa, Daman and Diu were delinked for retention of the status as Union Territory.

Since the Puducherry government had been neglecting Karaikal, particularly since 2000, upgrade of the enclave as a Union Territory would definitely make sense, Mr. Selvashanmugam emphasised.

"The talk of merger (of Karaikal with Tamil Nadu) has emanated from unknown groups with vested interests, but ignorant of the reality that breaching India's treaty with France (for retention of privileges of citizens in its colonies) will cause intervention of the International Court of Justice," Mr. Selvanayagam said.

Residents of Karaikal, in fact, are hopeful that the demand of Statehood for Puducherry would work positively for the enclave for its transformation into a Union Territory.

"Absence of steps by Puducherry for developing infrastructure necessary for economic progress of Karaikal enclave is indeed a rankling factor. Those born in Karaikal will never think of merging with Tamil Nadu," V. R. Dhanaseelane, president of Karaikal District Citizens' Welfare Association, said.

A majority of the residents of the enclave were in favour of retaining the French linkage, and, all the same, detachment from Puducherry, Mr. Dhanaseelane said.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 3:33:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/posters-advocating-karaikals-merger-with-tamil-nadu-fail-to-strike-a-chord/article65550136.ece