Reopen Kachativu agreement with Sri Lanka reiterates: CPI National Secretary

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Chennai, May 14 : National Secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI) D Raja on Wednesday reiterates the demand to reopen Kachativu agreement with Sri Lanka.

Raja reiterated the demand while discussing the problems faced by fishermen in seawaters between India and Sri Lanka at a meeting jointly organised by states of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry Fishermen Federation in Chennai today.

The fishermen complained that the number of attacks on them by naval forces of Sri Lanka has been increasing.

D Raja assured the fishermen that he would raise the issue in the Parliament.

"We want to tell the Government, the Kachativu agreement needs to be reopened and renegotiated and it can no more wait and our government will have to address this concern because there is a big grey area. Whether Indian fishermen have the right to go and fish around Kachativu area and that has to be cleared for which we demand the Kachativu agreement of 1974 needs to be reopened and renegotiated with the Sri Lankan government and this is imperative in the given situation," said Raja.

He also alleged that to a large extent the coast guards were also responsible for the harassment of the fishermen.

Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozi was also present along with Raja to interact with the relatives of the missing and deceased fishermen.

"I am from Rameshwaram. My husband was shot dead by the Sri Lankan navy when he went to sea for fishing. I have received Rs 10,0000 as compensation but ever since then nobody has bothered about me. I am struggling every day and there is no body to help me," said Nagavalli, a fishermans wife.

Since 1983, more than 300 Tamil Nadu fishermen have been attacked and killed by the Sri Lanka Navy.

It has been a long-pending demand of Tamil Nadu politicians that India should take the island of Kadchatheevu on perpetual lease so that the lives and livelihood of Indian fishermen are protected.

Since June 28, 1974, when India ceded Kachativu to Sri Lanka, it has been a source of controversy between the two countries.

The sea around Kachativu is rich in prawns, and attracts fishermen from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu.

From Rameswaram, Talaimannar (Sri Lanka) is just 12 nautical miles away.

ANI

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