Jayalalithaa writes to Modi, says Katchatheevu is not a settled issue

 Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday reiterated that the issue over the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) and Katchatheevu islet cannot be treated as settled.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jayalalithaa said the retrieval of Katchatheevu alone could ensure the restoration of safety and security of the Indian fishermen in the waters of the Palk Bay.

“The historical rights were simply signed away as part of the ill-advised Indo-Sri Lankan agreements of 1974 and 1976 which also unilaterally ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka without having any foresight or concern for the plight of our innocent fishermen,” Jayalalithaa said, before adding that the validity of these agreements was the subject matter of a writ petition pending in the Supreme Court.

She expressed confidence that the Union government would take an early and decisive action to resolve the issue. “I request the Government of India to impress upon the Sri Lankan government to rein in their navy and to refrain from apprehending our innocent fishermen who are in peaceful pursuit of their livelihood in their traditional fishing waters,” she said.

Thanking Modi for the speedy release of 184 fishermen since the new government assumed office at the Centre, the chief minister sought his immediate intervention to secure the release of 37 fishermen and 45 fishing boats in the Sri Lankan custody.

On Saturday, 20 fishermen, who set out for fishing on four boats from Rameswaram and Mandapam fishing bases in Ramanathapuram district, were apprehended by the Sri Lankan navy and were taken to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.

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