DMK to observe token fast in coastal districts on Katchateevu

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Chennai, Jul 17 (UNI) Asserting that the time has come for India to get back the rights over Katchatheevu, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu today decided to observe a day-long fast in all coastal districts of the state on July 19 to condemn the frequent killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the DMK's high level meeting, chaired by Party president and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to discuss the issue in the wake of recent killing of two fishermen by the Lankan navy.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Karunanidhi said senior leaders of the party would participate in the fast to be organised in all coastal towns and coastal district headquarters.

State Ministers, including Mr M K Stalin, Arcot N Veerasamy, Duraimurugan, Union Minister T R Baalu and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi would participate in the fast, he added.

The fast was to draw the attention of the Centre and prevail upon the government to bring to a halt such attacks on innocent fishermen and find a permanent solution.

Stating that Indian fishermen had the right to visit the church in Katchatheevu, fish around the island and dry their nets there, besides taking rest, Mr Karunanidhi alleged that these rights were negated during emergency and when Tamil Nadu was under President's rule.

Mr Karunanidhi said the time has come to retrieve Katchatheevu and restore India's right to dry the fishing nets and to enable fishing in and around the area.

''The time has now come to get back our rights'', he added.

Another resolution strongly condemned the attack on Indian fishermen and urged the Centre to take immediate action. ''Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should convey India's anguish, concern and displeasure to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse during the SAARC summit to be held in Colombo later this month.

''The Prime Minister should exhort Mr Rajpakse to take steps to ensure that such incidents did not recur'', the resolution added.

It also wanted the Centre to summon the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and express displeasure in strong and unequivocal terms over the killings.

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