Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Katchatheevu Controversy Explained: The Latest Flashpoint Between BJP and Congress

Katchatheevu Controversy Explained: The Latest Flashpoint Between BJP and CongressKatchatheevu Controversy Explained: The Latest Flashpoint Between BJP and Congress

Katchatheevu Controversy Explained: A 1974 accord saw the Congress government, led by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, cede the disputed island of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.

In the run-up to Tamil Nadu’s general election, which the BJP is attempting to win, a small island in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka has become a contentious topic. By an agreement made in 1974, the Congress government led by the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi granted Sri Lanka control of the disputed island of Katchatheevu. The Congress has “callously” given it away, according to a message that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has since shared on social media.

Eye-opening and frightening! New information reveals how Congress blatantly threw away Katchatheevu. This has outraged every Indian and reinforced in people’s views that we can never trust Congress,” PM Modi wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

In an RTI response, Tamil Nadu BJP president K Annamalai stated, “Weakening India’s unity, integrity, and interests has been Congress’ way of working for 75 years and counting,” the speaker continued, sharing a Times of India story.

Later, he brought up the issue at a Meerut gathering intended to launch the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh, drawing a connection between it and the Tamil fishermen’s apprehension and the Lankan troops’ seizure of their boats.

Later, he brought up the issue at a Meerut gathering intended to launch the BJP campaign in Uttar Pradesh, drawing a connection between it and the Tamil fishermen’s apprehension and the Lankan troops’ seizure of their boats.

Mr Annamalai’s RTI request had sought information about the Indira Gandhi government’s decision to hand up the island, which has long been a source of contention in Tamil Nadu. The Congress is an ally of the state’s ruling DMK, therefore the BJP hopes to acquire electoral traction in a state dominated by Dravidian politics.

The controversy

Since the British era, Katchatheevu, which is about 33 km off the Indian coast and close to Rameswaram, has been a point of contention between Sri Lanka and India. Both countries were British colonies at the time. The British had connected it to the Madras Presidency, citing the ancient claims of the Ramnad zamindari of Ramanathapuram.

Yet, disagreements over fishing rights on the island erupted once more upon independence.

The government of Indira Gandhi consented to hand it up to the island nation in 1974 as part of the “Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreement” to end the conflict and fortify relations with Sri Lanka.

The uninhabited volcanic island, which is 1.6 km long and around 300 m wide, was not considered to be very important strategically at the time. However, in recent decades, the circumstances have shifted due to China’s expansion and increasing sway over Sri Lanka.

What is the significance of Katchatheevu for Tamil Nadu?

The majority of Indian fishermen who enter the area and face action from Sri Lankan authorities are from Tamil Nadu.

The DMK, which ruled Tamil Nadu in 1974, complained that the Congress government did not consider its views before signing the pact with Sri Lanka. At the time, the party had staged several protests.

The administration, led by J Jayalalithaa, had repeatedly raised the issue and even gone to court over it.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Modi last year, requesting that the issue be resolved in advance of Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India.

He also wrote to Prime Minister Modi after many fishermen were arrested by Sri Lankan police.

The traditional fishing seas that Tamil fishermen have relied on for generations are becoming increasingly restricted, making it impossible to sustain their livelihood and jeopardizing the economic stability of these communities. This also undermines the region’s cultural and social fabric, which is centered on the fishing business, he wrote in February of this year.  -Katchatheevu Controversy

He stated that the number of arrests was escalating, emphasizing that in 2023, the Sri Lankan navy apprehended 243 fishermen and confiscated 37 boats. Yet, within just the last 28 days, 88 fishermen and 12 boats were captured in six separate incidents.

Hot Button Politics

The leaders of the BJP and Congress have disagreed on Katchatheevu in response to PM Modi’s remarks.

Senior DMK leader RS Bharathi claimed the PM was just spreading “lies” and had “no achievements” to show off. During his ten years in government, PM Modi might have regained Katchatheevu if he had been that interested in the island. Why did he refrain from addressing the Katchatheevu issue?
stated Mr. Bharathi.  – Katchatheevu Controversy

Also Read: Congress Criticizes Tax

Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the Congress, has endorsed the argument. As part of a friendly deal, the island of Katchatheevu was transferred to Sri Lanka in 1974, Mr. Kharge continued, adding that the BJP-led administration had also made a similar “friendly gesture” towards Bangladesh by exchanging border enclaves.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *