Home » SL Katchatheevu Island turns to a political issue in Indian elections 

SL Katchatheevu Island turns to a political issue in Indian elections 


By: Staff Writer

April 01, Colombo (LNW): Katchatheevu island ownership of Sri Lanka is set to turn to a political issue on the eve of Indian elections as it could be leveraged for securing fishing rights and canvas vote of Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Despite India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s, dismissing the island issue as “inconsequential” on May 10, 1961 now Katchatheevu ownership  has become a significant issue during upcoming Tamil Nadu’s Lok Sabha campaigns..

Handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1968 has impacted Indian fishermen, mostly from Tamil Nadu, who often get detained by the Sri Lankan Navy.

In this citcusmtance Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday lashed out at the Congress party over a controversial island, Katchatheevu that was given to Sri Lanka by former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1968.

The Katchatheevu island debate has taken centre stage in Tamil Nadu politics as the Lok Sabha election nears.

PM Modi on Sunday cited a report in Times of India that said, ‘RTI reply shows how Indira Gandhi ceded the island to Sri Lanka’. The PM on the X platfrom wrote, “Eye-opening and startling! New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu”.

PM Narendra Modi added, “Weakening India’s unity, integrity, and interests has been Congress’ way of working for 75 years and counting”.

According to the document obtained by Tamil Nadu’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief K Annamalai via an RTI application, the Indira Gandhi government in 1974 handed over the Katchatheevu Island, located in Palk Strait to Sri Lanka.

The report also cited the statement of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the issue.PM Modi to kickstart BJP’s LS election campaign in UP from Meerut today.

Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, pressed its claim on the island after independence. The island country said that the Indian Navy (then Royal Indian Navy) could not conduct exercises on Katchatheevu without its permission.

On 10 May 1961, Nehru said he would not hesitate to give up claims to Katchatheevu. “I attach no importance to all to this little island and I would have no hesitation in giving up our claims to it, ” Nehru wrote as quoted by Times of India.

‘Modi govt want to strangulate opposition financially’, Congress attacks BJP Commonwealth Secretary YD Gundevia quoted Nehru’s minutes. However, until 1974 the final decision on Katchatheevu island was not finalised.

Then-Attorney General MC Setalvad in 1960 also stated that India had a stronger claim on the island formed due to volcanic eruptions in a reference to the Zamindari Rights given by the East Indian Company to Raja of Ramnad over the islet and fishery resources around it.

The Raja enjoyed rights in Katchatheevu Island from 875 to 1948 which later got vested in the State of Madras after the abolition of the Zamindari system.

What’s your Reaction?

Leave a Comment

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
You can enter the Tamil word or English word but not both
Anti-Spam Image