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Jayalaithaa urges centre to withdraw 1974 agreement with Sri Lanka

Chennai, Mar 26 (): Expressing concern about the rising sabotage caused to the Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalaithaa today urged the centre to set off diplomatic steps to verify it and demanded for extracting the 1974 agreement ceding Katchatheevu to the island nation.

Responding on the issue in the Assembly on Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said that if the UPA government failed to agree to the state’s demand, then her government will approach legally. Condemning the continued attacks on the fishermen, Jayalalithaa said that the ruling government at the centre seems be in a hope that fishermen of Tamil Nadu belong to some other country.

In her reaction to New Delhi, the chief minister said that granting of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka had caused immense trouble to the Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy as Colombo failed to value various provisions of the agreement relating to traditional rights.

Referring to the 1960 Berubari judgment in the Supreme Court, Jayalalithaa said that in a similar situation the then West Bengal government had moved the court against ceding it to then East Pakistan, which was declared by the court that such ceding could be possibly done  only after both the houses of the parliament approves, besides constitutional amendments.

Charging the previous Karunanidhi government, Jayalalithaa said that if the DMK president would have followed this earlier in 1974 then Katchatheevu would not have been conceded to Sri Lanka. It is high time the centre starts reacting to these brutal attacks of the fishermen and takes diplomatic steps at least now, said the Chief Minister.

Taking a firm stand, Jayalalithaa insisted saying that New Delhi should without delay withdraw the Katchatheevu agreement, or her government will protest strongly in the Supreme Court when the case comes up.

Meanwhile, Indian custom authorities arrested two Sri Lankan fishermen who floated ashore at Kodiakkarai on Monday claiming their boat to have run short of fuel.

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