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Karunanidhi clarifies stand on Katchatheevu issue

By Anita

Katchatheevu island
New Delhi, Jun 15: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is facing the ire of new CM J Jayalalithaa. After she appeared intent on spoiling DMKs happiness both at the Centre and the state, the war of words are only seeing an increase. But now it is Karuna's turn to hit back.

On the controversial Sri Lankan Tamil issue that is fast becoming a hot topic in the new government headed by Jaya, Karunanidhi cleared his stand and his party's thoughts on it. Karuna spoke on the Katchatheevu issue and commented through party's mouthpiece Murasoli, "During the recent discussion in the assembly on a resolution proposed by Jayalalithaa, seeking to implead the revenue department in a case filed by her on retrieving Katchatheevu, she and other opposition members spoke as if the Centre ceded it at the behest of DMK."

He stressed on the efforts made by the government during his tenure as CM and alleged Jaya's virtual support in ceding the controversial islet. He also mentioned an underhanded move by Jaya to target him who had earlier accused him as being responsible for the Sri Lankan Tamil's plight and the Cauvery issue going haywire.

The controversial islet of Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka by India through an agreement in 1974. Apparently done without the express consent of the DMK, he rubbished Jaya's claims that he did not oppose it despite being aware of it. He reiterated that the DMK was always keen on retrieving the islet and had also moved a resolution in the Assembly in this regard. The DMK stated, "We had pressed for fishermen's rights on the islet, including drying catch and the nets (which was there in the agreement). But they were withdrawn in the Emergency."

Upping the ante against Jaya all the more, Karunanidhi added that Jaya had written a letter to the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao back in 1992 claiming that the islet was ceded "in the interest of bilateral relations".

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