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‘No floor’ for Indian request for return of Katchatheevu: Sri Lanka Minister

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A view of Katchatheevu in Sri Lanka.
| Photo Credit: L. BALACHANDAR

The statements popping out of India on “reclaiming” Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka have “no ground”, the Sri Lankan Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda has mentioned.

The senior Sri Lankan Tamil politician’s feedback got here days after the Narendra Modi authorities focused the Congress Party and its ally the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Tamil Nadu accusing them of overlooking nationwide pursuits within the ceding of Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974.

The BJP has additionally been concentrating on the 2 events for not guaranteeing the rights of the fishermen eager to fish in waters across the Katchatheevu island.

“It is the election time in India, it is not unusual to hear such noises of claims and counterclaims about Katchatheevu,” Mr. Devananda told reporters in Jaffna on Thursday.

“I think India is acting on its interests to secure this place to ensure Sri Lankan fishermen would not have any access to that area and that Sri Lanka should not claim any rights in that resourceful area”, Devananda mentioned.

The statements on “reclaiming” Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka’s hold has “no floor,” Mr. Devananda has said.

The Sri Lankan Minister said according to the 1974 agreement fishermen from both sides could do fishing in the territorial waters of both countries. But it was later reviewed and amended in 1976.

Accordingly, fishermen from both countries were banned from fishing in neighbouring waters.

Mr. Devananda stressed, “There claims to be a place called West Bank which is located below Kanyakumari — it is a much bigger area with extensive sea resources — it is 80 times bigger than Katchatheevu, India secured it at the 1976 review agreement.”

Mr. Devananda because the Fisheries Minister has confronted stress from the native fishermen in current months.

The native fishermen have led widespread protests to cease unlawful fishing by their Indian counterparts within the Sri Lankan waters. They say the underside trawling by the Indians is dangerous to Sri Lankan fishing neighborhood pursuits.

So far this yr, a minimum of 178 Indian fishermen and 23 trawlers have been arrested by the Sri Lanka Navy.

Mr. Devananda, an ex-Tamil militant who now leads the Eelam People’s Democratic Party, was named a proclaimed offender by a court docket in Chennai in 1994.

On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) steered away from the row surrounding Katchatheevu island.

To a volley of questions on the Katchatheevu problem, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal referred to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s current feedback on the matter.

“I would like to tell you that on the issues that have been raised, the External Affairs Minister has spoken to the press here in Delhi and also in Gujarat clarifying all the issues,” he mentioned.

“I would refer that you please look at his press engagements. You will get your answers there,” Mr. Jaiswal mentioned in New Delhi.

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