Karunanidhi's plea on island opportunistic: Jayalalithaa

Chennai, July 18 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday called as opportunistic DMK president M. Karunanidhi's petition in the Supreme Court against the transfer of Katchatheevu island from India to Sri Lanka in the mid-1970s.

In a statement issued here, Jayalalithaa said fearing a favourable verdict in the apex court in a case filed by her against Katchatheevu island transfer, the DMK chief has filed the petition.

The apex court Monday issued notice to the central government on a petition by Karunanidhi seeking the reclaiming of the Katchatheevu island whose control India conceded to Sri Lanka in 1974.

Jayalalithaa cited the apex court's favourable verdict in a case filed by her ordering the central government to notify the Cauvery Tribunal's final award in the official gazette.

Jayalalithaa accused Karunanidhi of doing nothing in 1974 as the state's chief minister when the island was transferred to Sri Lanka.

She said it was only for Karunanidhi to explain why as the then chief minister of Tamil Nadu he did not file a case citing an earlier apex court judgment against the transfer of the island.

In 1960, the apex court held that land belonging to India could be ceded to another country only with the approval of parliament and constitution amendment, she said.

In 2008, Karunanidhi remained silent though the state was mentioned as a respondent in the case filed by her in the apex court against the island transfer, Jayalalithaa said.

According to her, Karunanidhi could have exerted pressure on the United Progressive Alliance government to file an affidavit in the apex court in favour of Tamil Nadu as the DMK was propping up the government.

Jayalalithaa said she has been taking steps to retrieve Katchatheevu since 1991 on becoming the chief minister of the state for the first time.

The state assembly passed a resolution to this effect in 1991 and it was sent to the central government. In 2013, the assembly passed another resolution urging the central government to revoke the Katchatheevu transfer agreement, she added.

Katchatheevu island is located in the narrow sea dividing the two countries. The sea near the islet is said to be rich in marine life, leading to frequent clashes between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.

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