Katchatheevu: Jaishankar criticises Cong, DMK

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has slammed the Congress and ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over the Katchatheevu island issue, saying ceding it to Sri Lanka resulted in the seizure, detention or apprehension of a large number of Indian fishermen and fishing vessels by the island nation.

In a scathing attack on the Congress and the DMK, he said: “In 1974, India & Sri Lanka concluded an agreement where they drew a maritime boundary, and in drawing the maritime boundary, Katchatheevu was put on the Sri Lankan side of the boundary.”

Jaishankar remarked, “This is the background of the issue that we are discussing. In the last five years, the Katchatheevu issue and the fisherman’s issue have been repeatedly raised by various parties in Parliament.”

The Katchatheevu row pertains to how the uninhabited expanse became part of the island nation in 1974 after then PM Indira Gandhi greenlit the Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement. The 163-acre island, traditionally used by fishermen from both countries, was initially part of the Madras Presidency.

He pointed out that the Katchatheevu issue has been the centre of discussion during parliament questions, debates and in the consultative committee.