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“Nehru called Katchatheevu a piece of rock”: Former Foreign Secy Harsh Shringla slams Opposition amid island row – World News Network

New Delhi [India], April 2 (ANI): Slamming the Opposition parties over the Katchatheevu island row, former Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, said that Jawaharlal Nehru called the island a “piece of rock” and the same policy was carried forward by Indira Gandhi.
The former Foreign Secretary also argued that when the Britishers had not put the island under ‘British India’, then why did the Indira Gandhi government delimit it in Sri Lanka’s favour.
The island, located between Rameswaram in India and Sri Lanka, was traditionally used by both Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen. In 1974, the then central government accepted Katchatheevu as Sri Lankan territory under the “Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreement.”
Speaking to ANI, Shringla said, “Even in British times, when there was a separation of the Indian and Sri Lankan dominions, there was a proposal that Katchatheevu should be part of Ceylon. But the British refused to grant Katchatheevu to Ceylon and kept it as a part of British India because all the legal factors, including the land rights and zamindari rights exercised by the Raja of Ramnathapuram, which is the closest point of the Indian mainland of Katchatheevu has indicated that this is historically a traditional part of India.”
“So when the British did not put it as British India, why did the Congress government under Indira Gandhi delimit it in Sri Lanka’s favour?” he added.
The decades-old territorial and fishing rights dispute around Katchatheevu island has been in controversy with the BJP and the opposition engaging in a war of words over the issue.
PM Modi on Monday targeted the Congress party and DMK over the Katchatheevu island issue. He said that Congress “callously” gave away the island. He also alleged the ruling party of Tamil Nadu did “nothing” to safeguard the state’s interests.
Speaking further, Shringla said that the issue was the Katchatheevu issue was “extensively” consulted with DMK and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi. He added that the Central government is trying to rectify many of the historically wrong decisions.
“Karunanidhi, the patriarch of the DMK, was consulted extensively and his approval in principle was obtained, concurrence in principle was obtained before the issue was actually put forward and the agreement was concluded,” Shringla said.
“So in many senses, I think today, you know, we are in a situation where we are having to, in some senses, try and rectify many of the wrong decisions taken historically. And that comes from Nehru’s time because Nehru also said Katchatheevu was a piece of rock, Mrs Gandhi also maintained that,” he added.
Reacting to the reports that the 1974 agreement was signed to get Indian Tamils who are in Sri Lanka back to India, Shringla said that it sounded “very strange”.
“Now this is very strange because all through I think we have been fighting for those who were in Sri Lanka in 1947 and subsequently they are called Indian origin Tamils or plantation Tamils who have been working in plantation in Sri Lanka to get naturalised citizenship if they wanted to. And those who want to return to India would return to India. Why would Sri Lanka prevent anybody to come back to his own place of origin?” he said. (ANI)


Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from a syndicated feed of ANI; only the image & headline may have been reworked by News Services Division of World News Network Inc Ltd and Palghar News and Pune News and World News


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