Congress ‘callously’ gave away Katchatheevu island: PM Modi

PM Modi’s remarks underscored his attack on the Congress on the question of the integrity of India’s sovereign claims, as well as his electoral push towards South India, especially Tamil Nadu

March 31, 2024 12:29 pm | Updated 05:10 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said new facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said new facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday on March 31 came down heavily on the Congress over the ceding of Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974 by the then Indira Gandhi government, an issue that has gained prominence in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls after recent news reports highlighting the issue.

He cited a report in the Times of India and posted on “X” (formerly Twitter): “Eye-opening and startling! New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu….” further posting “weakening India’s unity, integrity, and interests has been Congress’ way of working for 75 years and counting.”

The news report itself was based on replies received under a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by BJP Tamil Nadu chief K. Annamalai, on the ceding of the island situated in the Palk Straits to Sri Lanka by the government of India in 1974.

The RTI replies gives details over the conflicting claims on the island, with Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) pressing its claims soon after independence, as detailed in the news report, with the Opposition even way back during late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s time questioning the government of India for being inclined to cede the territory. After agreeing to cede the island to Sri Lanka in 1974, then Indira Gandhi informed then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of the same. The Congress and the DMK are in alliance with each other in Tamil Nadu in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, a point lost on no one.

The narrative around the Katchatheevu island is not new with Mr. Modi raising the issue in August last year during a debate on a no-trust motion brought against his government in the Lok Sabha. At that time too, Mr. Modi had pointed out that “those attacking” his government on various issues needed to be queried on Katchatheevu island and the circumstances under which it had been ceded. Sunday’s remarks by the Prime Minister underscored his attack on the Congress on the question of the integrity of India’s sovereign claims, as well as his electoral push towards South India, especially Tamil Nadu.

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