TN polls: Jaya slams Karunanidhi over fishermen's issue

The Chief Minister was canvassing votes for 14 of her party nominees from the four districts of Viruthunagar, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi.

Aruppukottai (TN): Mounting an attack on arch rival and DMK President M Karunanidhi over the fishermen issue, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Friday accused him of being a "party" in India ceding Katchatheevu islet to Sri Lanka, by not moving court against the Centre's decision.

"The key reason behind the arrest of Indian fishermen (from Tamil Nadu) by the Lankan navy is the ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka. Karunanidhi remained silent then without taking any action," she said while addressing an election rally here.

The Chief Minister was canvassing votes for 14 of her party nominees from the four districts of Viruthunagar, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi.

Katchatheevu, an islet on Palk Bay, was ceded to Sri Lanka by India by way of two agreements in 1974 and 1976.

It has since remained a flash point between Indo-Lanka relations, with Indian fishermen facing Lankan navy action, including firing for alleged violation of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

Jayalalithaa said that in an earlier case, India's move to cede Perubari in West Bengal to then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was stopped following the Supreme Court's observation that such a move could not happen without getting the nod of the two houses of Parliament, besides required constitutional amendments.

Karunanidhi could have used this precedence to stop the ceding of Katchatheevu, Jayalalithaa said.

"Why didn't he do so? Only he has to answer. By doing so (not moving the court), he had betrayed Tamil Nadu and its fishermen. I strongly state that Karunanidhi was a party in ceding of Katchatheevu," she charged.

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