26 Mar 2013

Jayalalithaa may seek legal solution to attacks on fishermen

Chennai, March 26 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Tuesday said she would secure a permanent legal solution through the Supreme Court against attacks on Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy.
Replying to a discussion on a calling attention motion in the state assembly on recurrent attacks on Indian fishermen, Jayalalithaa said: "India should rescind the agreement transferring Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka. India should strongly condemn the Lankan attacks on its fishermen. India should summon the Lankan envoy and convey its strong opposition to the attacks."
The chief minister said she could present strong arguments in the apex court challenging the transfer of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka and secure a permanent legal solution to the attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy.
She said the problem of attacks on Indian fishermen did not arise as long as Katchatheevu was part of India.
In 1974, the islet was transferred to Sri Lanka when the DMK was in power in the state and the Congress was at the centre.
"As per the agreement, both the countries would continue to enjoy the rights that they had prior to the transfer but Sri Lanka does not seem to honour the same," Jayalaithaa said.
In 2008, Jayalalithaa had filed a case in the Supreme Court challenging the transfer of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka on the grounds that the transfer was not ratified by parliament by passing a constitutional amendment as per the court's earlier ruling.
"The state government's revenue department has also impleaded in the case as a party. An application to hear the case early has been filed with the Supreme Court," she said.
Jayalalithaa said she had urged the central government to secure "lease in perpetuity" status so that Indian fishermen could go to the island while fishing.
Katchatheevu is in the narrow sea dividing the two countries. The sea is rich in marine life, fishing for which has often led to clashes between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.
--Indo-Asian News Service

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