Jaya to move SC on Katchatheevu issue if PM refuses to act

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Chennai, Jul 31 (UNI) AIADMK Supremo J Jayalalithaa today said she would seriously consider moving the Supreme Court to test the validity of conceding Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not come forward to do so.

In a statement here, she said she would move the Court in her capacity as Party General Secretary and as the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, seeking to set aside the ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka by the then Indira Gandhi Government in 1974.

''This is the very least that can be done to ensure the security of the Tamil Nadu fishermen, who are in danger of being totally deprived of their livelihoods,'' she said.

Ms Jayalalithaa's decision comes in the wake of call by various political parties in Tamil Nadu to retrieve Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka, following frequent killings of Indian fishermen by Lankan Navy on the high seas.

The Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka under the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement in 1974 by the then Indian Government headed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

She said the Apex Court in a case relating to the Indo- Pakistan agreement on Borubany Union and exchange of enclaves ruled that any ceding of Indian territory to another country resulted ''dimunition of the Territory of Indian Union'' and therefore must be endorsed by Parliament through a Constitutional Amendment as laid down by Artcle 368.

''Since no such step was taken by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi or by the susbequent Governments in India, Dr Manmohan Singh should seriously consider moving the Supreme Court to test the validity of conceding Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka,'' she said.

''If the Prime Minister is not willing to do this, I will move the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to the Indian Government to do so or pray for setting aside the ceding of Kathatheevu to Sri Lanka,'' she added.

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