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India has to go to war to retrieve Kachatheevu: AG

27 August 2014 04:03 am - 23     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Indian Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that retrieving Kachatheevu Island was an impossible task and India would have to declare war with Sri Lanka to retrieve it.

"The island was given to Sri Lanka on the basis of a bilateral agreement in 1974. To retrieve it now, we have to go to war," Rohatgi said a week before hearing on petitions by Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and her arch rival M Karunanidhi seeking retrieval of Kachatheevu Island from Sri Lanka,

Responding to the AG's statement, a bench of Chief Justice R M Lodha and Justices Kurian Joseph and R F Nariman said, "In the Supreme Court, we talk of peace and not war."

Rohatgi's suo motu statement came during hearing of two petitions by member of Parliament AKS Vijayan and deputy speaker of Lok Sabha M Thambidurai, who had sought the SC's intervention for early release of 107 Tamil Nadu fishermen arrested by Sri Lankan navy for allegedly straying into their territorial waters.

The fishermen flock to Kachatheevu as the area around the island yields a rich catch of fish and they routinely get arrested and harassed by the Lankan navy, the petitioners had alleged.

The court told the petitioners that they were members of Parliament and could well raise the issue in the House and impress upon the government the gravity of the situation. "How can the court get into a matter that lies squarely between India and Sri Lanka," it asked.

"How do we invoke our jurisdiction in such matters? We do not deny there could be hardship for the fishermen. But how can we deal with issues relating to foreign countries? Best way is to leave it to the political dispensation. Now, the political dispensation has changed. You bring the issue to their notice. You are no lay person but important political person," the bench said.

Rohatgi initially volunteered to arrange a meeting of the petitioners with the external affairs minister but later said as deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and an MP, the petitioners were quite important and could directly talk to the minister on this issue.

The bench disposed of the petitions saying the petitioners could make fresh representation to the NDA government raising issues of fishermen's arrest, compensation to families and more vigilant patrolling by Coast Guard to prevent straying of fishermen into Lankan waters.

A few years ago, the Tamil Nadu assembly had unanimously passed a resolution moved by Jayalalithaa stating that the "government of India should take immediate steps to retrieve Katchatheevu Island ceded in 1970 to Sri Lanka" to help resolve the crisis and save lives of Indian fishermen.

In January 2009, the Supreme Court had issued notice on Jayalalithaa's petition on the same issue. She too had questioned the legality of the agreement ceding Kachatheevu to Sri Lanka saying it did not have backing of a constitutional amendment. DMK chief M Karunanidhi too has been staunchly opposed to the ceding of Kachatheevu to Sri Lanka.

Jayalalithaa had said the Supreme Court, in Berubari Union case in 1960, had clearly laid down that no ceding of territory could take place without Parliament first approving it in terms of a constitutional amendment. The DMK chief too cited the same case to augment his arguments.

Seeking a declaration from the court to nullify the ceding of Kachatheevu, Jayalalithaa had sought a direction to the Union government to take steps for retrieving the island and include it within the territory of India. (Times of India)

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  Comments - 23

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  • Alimankada Pamankada Wednesday, 27 August 2014 07:57 AM

    Where is Bathalwathy when we need her. She created this mess and is not here to solve it. Silly lLanka.

    Truth Thursday, 28 August 2014 09:46 AM

    You are talking like Mervyn...

    Nihal Amarasekera Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:56 AM

    Falkland or Falseland in the horizon?

    Meti Haraka Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:03 AM

    Don't worry....the war will be between Indian and Chienese Armies...not with Sri Lankan Army....

    Suq Madique Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:03 AM

    [quote name="ram"]Already half of Colombo city and full in North and east belong to India they don’t worry about no man island of Kachchativ.[/quote]
    If that is so then why do tamils say they are treated fairly?

    AJJA Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:00 AM

    They can drop Parrippu to Kathativ

    upul Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:55 AM

    BBS will be saving the nation.

    Suq Madique Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:16 AM

    [quote name="Don Don"]You are wrong, half of the country belongs to China[/quote]
    Better belong to China than the bloody Indians.

    Pathum Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:45 AM

    Tamil Nadu does not have even an intelligent AG

    Suq Madique Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:35 AM

    Then why is TN making such a big fuss about it?

    Iqbal Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:29 AM

    Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 is also a "bilateral agreement" between India and Sri Lanka. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    Dayan J Wednesday, 27 August 2014 08:00 AM

    How can India invade Chinese territory.?

    mount Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:16 AM

    India already received enough land in srilanka they dont worry about Kachchativ. They can more fish worth than Kachchativ .

    Don Don Wednesday, 27 August 2014 07:57 AM

    You are wrong, half of the country belongs to China

    JAMES HUDSON Wednesday, 27 August 2014 07:48 AM

    SRI LANKA USED TO BELONGS TO INDIA
    PLEASE SEE THE 17TH CENTURY MAP OF ASIA

    mail_guy Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:47 AM

    Then double war crimes!!

    ABC Wednesday, 27 August 2014 12:14 PM

    Look at history it is not 1st time they wagged war against SL. But we will survive if that happen (hopefully Modi is not so moda to do so) via DM Android App

    dias Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:39 AM

    I Pray the god that she will not ask back from the Tamil people what she has given like rice flour ,

    Appuhami Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:26 AM

    not really! Srilanka didn't go to war to get it.

    boston Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:25 AM

    Ha ha........ India please invade Kachavaeevu !!!!!!!!!!!

    concern citizen Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:55 AM

    all these Indian knows is to fight and scream. so undisciplined people who r not civilized properly in order to settle a matter in a correct and an appropriate manner.. via DM Android App

    nair Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:10 AM

    IOC - Stateof bank of India, Tata Bus all be ready to pack the Bags. Sri lanka Beat a ruthless Barbarian.

    ram Wednesday, 27 August 2014 06:05 AM

    Already half of Colombo city and full in North and east belong to India they don’t worry about no man island of Kachchativ.


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