Tamil Nadu CM calls for retrieving Katchatheevu
According to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, reclaiming the Katchatheevu islet from Sri Lanka by itself will permanently solve the challenges of Tamil Nadu’s fishermen.
What is the historical background of Katchatheevu Island?
- The island and Pamban Island were under the control of the Jaffna Kingdom during the Middle Ages.
- It joined the Ramnad Kingdom in the seventeenth century and was afterwards governed by the British during their dominion over India.
- Both nations managed the island while it was under British authority, and ownership of the island remained debatable until 1974.
- In 1974, an agreement between India and Sri Lanka acknowledged equal ownership.
What is the 1974 Agreement between India and Srilanka about?
- Maritime Agreement Between India and Sri Lanka:
- Under the “Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreement,” then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi acknowledged Katchatheevu as a Sri Lankan territory in 1974.
- The Palk Strait maritime boundary issue was resolved by this agreement.
- Fishermen from both nations were prohibited from fishing in each other’s exclusive economic zones by a different agreement in 1976.
What are the legal challenges and disputes based on this island?
- Because the recognition was not approved by the Indian Parliament, the legitimacy of the transfer of ownership was contested before the Indian Supreme Court.
- Politicians and fishermen from Tamil Nadu highlighted their worries and agitation while promoting Indian sovereignty over the island.
- Due to the island’s cultural significance to Tamil Nadu fishermen, there is debate about whether it should be recognized as Sri Lankan territory.
Why are the island and its surroundings important to India?
- Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka use the island’s fishing areas extensively.
- An arrangement between India and Sri Lanka allows Indian fishermen to fish in the area of Katchatheevu and utilize the island to dry their nets.
- There is a Catholic shrine on the island that draws visitors from both nations.
What is the stand of the Tamil Nadu people on this matter?
- The cession of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka through the 1974 and 1976 agreements, according to the petition filed in 2011 by the new Tamil Nadu government headed by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, was unconstitutional.
- The court cited the Berubari decision in ruling that a constitutional amendment by parliament was required for India to cede land to another nation.
What is the Indian government’s opinion on this issue?
- According to the Indian government, no Indian territory was lost and no sovereignty was given up because the region was contested and had never been precisely defined.
- The status of the dispute was resolved by the 1974 agreement by taking into account historical data and legal considerations.