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KATCHATHEEVU AND THE INDIAN TAMILS OF SRILANKA

The Congress Rulers never considered Tamils as Indians and Tamil Nadu a part of India. Ten Years earlier to the Indira Gandhi – Srimavo traitorous agreement of 1974, during the year 1964, Sastri the then Prime Minister of India Made a betrayal agreement with the same lady Srimavo Pandaranaike which made lakhs and lakhs of Indian Tamils of Srilanka Stateless. These Tamils were taken to Ceylon under the protective umbrella of British since 19th Century and they formed a bulk labour which turned the malaria infested forests of Srilanka in to a smiling plantations of tea which sustained the Srilankan economy up to modern times. Under the British Rule these Indian Tamils of Srilanka enjoyed the same legal status what the Singhalese and the Srilankan Tamils enjoyed. After Independence, the Srilankan Government declared that all the Srilankan Indian Tamils are stateless by passing an act by name The Ceylon Citizenship Act 1948.

Instead of warning the Srilankan Government to withdraw the above act, the Congress Government went on negotiating with Srilanka on this issue and finally Sastri accepted to get 5-25 lakhs of Srilankan Indian Tamils back to India out of 9.75 lakhs of Indian Tamils in Srilanka. It is to be noted that 90% of them did not want to return to India because they had been there in Srilanka Since 19th Century.

At that time Shir. C. Raja Gopalachari, once a Prominent leader of congress Party righty echoed the feelings of Tamils as follows. “Why should nearly a million of children and grand children born in Ceylon to parents who toiled and sweated for Ceylon and who had gone there from south India and settled down in the plantations be disentitled to be citizens of Ceylon? Why should a single child born in Ceylon and desiring to be in Ceylon and be a working citizen thereof be turned to wander as homeless refugees in India?”

As usual the congress Rulers ignored all objections and protests. Ultimately lakhs and lakhs joined families of Indian Tamils in Srilanka departed each family in to two or more and 60% of them were forced to return to India as refugees. Thereafter, the Srilankan Tamil refugees in India and their blood relations in Srilanka used to meet and recall their memories once in a year at Katchatheevu during the “Antoniar Festival” without Visa or any other travel documents. After Indira Gandhi gifted Katchatheevu to Srimavo for the reasons described in the previous chapters the Srilankan Government once for all locked the Antoniar Temple and stopped the Antoniar Festival Since 1978 and detained the Pilgrims to visit katchatheevu.

Thus the meeting opportunity of the Srilankan Tamil Refugees in India and the Indian Tamils in Srilanka once in a year at Katchatheevu was buried because of the ceding of Katchatheevu to Srilanka through the traitorous, betrayal and unpatriotic agreement made by Indira Gandhi during the year 1974.

What remarkable here is that Shri. K. Kamaraj the Then All India Congress party leader who made Sastri as Prime Minister after Nehru and Indira as the Prime Minister after Sastri is a Tamil.


THE DICTATORIAL ACT OF CONGRESS AND THE LOSS OF KATCHATHEEVU ISLAND

India is a country with different rationalities people of which have formulated a Constituion to protect the interest of each and every citizen. It is no less an act of betrayal, and anti national, when a territory belonging to people of a particular nationality being ceded to a foreign power, that too without obtaining the consent of that people. This could be summarized as a dictatorial act. Katchatheevu Island was ceded to Sri Lanka by the then Congress Government through the 1974 agreement, which agreement had not even been ratified by the Indian parliament. Traditionally Katchatheevu Island had been the territory of Tamils. The foregoing chapters dealt in detail the Tamils traditional right over Katchatheevu Island. The Sinhalese were often found staking a claim over Katchatheevu Island. During 1920, the Sinhalese made a claim with the British rulers over the Katchatheevu Island. Even then Katchatheevu Island continued to remain a territory of Tamils.

After independence, during 1951 and again in 1954, Sri Lanka laid a claim over Katchatheevu Island. Dudly Senanayake and John Kothalawala were the Srilankan Prime Ministers, and Jawaharlal Nehru was the then Indian Prime Minister. Jawaharlal Nehru did not show any interest over Katchatheevu Island. This emboldened the Sri Lankans to conduct a Military exercise in Katchatheevu Island in 1955. When this was raised in Parliament, Jawaharlal Nehru would only say that the issue is being analyzed. In the mean time Sri Lanka agreed to wait for a final decision on Katchatheevu Island and announced “postponement of military exercises” till then. Again during 1968 the issue on Katchatheevu Island was raised in Parliament. Mrs.lndira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, following the footsteps of her father Jawaharlal Nehru did not pay much attention and replied that she is awaiting details on Katchatheevu Island from the Government of Tamilnadu. During the same period, on 02.03.1968, the Samyuktha Socialist Part, which had only 2 members in the Tarnilnadu assembly moved an adjournment motion on the issue of Katchatheevu Island, Pulavar Govindan, the then Deputy Speaker, (who was then in Chiar) said that the issue of Katchatheevu Island is an external affairs issue to be addressed by the Central Government.

The DMK had 138 members in the Assembly at that time. This is the manner in which the DMK, once a patriarch of separate Dravidian land, viewed the issue of Katchatheevu Island. In 1974, the Prime Ministers of both the nations deliberated on handing over Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka. On 26.06.1974, Mrs.Bandaranayke, signed the agreement in Colombo and on 28.06.1974. Mrs. Indira Gandhi signed the fateful agreement. On 23.07.1974 a report on this agreement was read over in the Parliament. Till date the agreement has not been ratified by the parliament. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, fairly admitted that Katchatheevu Island was ceded for political reasons and not on documentary evidences.

It is worth mentioning that during the Indo China War and Indo Pak war, Sri Lanka had always supported China and Pakistan. In reciprocation of Sri Lanka’s support during the Bangladesh War, Pakistan gave two planes to Sri Lanka. It is widely reported that after the 1971 Indo Pak War, Pakistan sought to establish an Air base in Sri Lanka and this was vehemently opposed by India. On its part Sri Lanka demanded that, to keep Pakistan in bay, Katchatheevu Island be ceded to it. Mrs. Indira Gandhi is reported to have accepted to this barter. This is the political reason that is widely reported to be the reason for ceding Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka. Considering the stature of Mrs.Indira Gandhi and the political power which she wielded during that time, Mrs, Indiara Gandhi was in the height of her political career and it in the next year viz., 1975 she declared Emergency, it is rather doubtful whether Mrs.Indira Gandhi would have yielded to the dictates of Mrs.Bandaranayake.

Mrs.Bandaranayake is considered very close to the Nehru family. Even during the days of Mr.Bandaranayake, there was close relationship between Jawaharlal Nehru family and Bandaranayake family. After, the death of Mr.Bandaranayake, Mrs. Bandaranayake became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. She had the distinction of being the first Women Prime Minister in the World. The relationship between her and Nehru continued well, till the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. Thereafter, the relationship continued with Mrs.Indira Gandhi. Although, Mrs.Bandaranayake had the distinction of being the World’s first Women Prime Minister, she saw her power fading away at home. So there was a necessity to rejuvenate, which was accomplished by ceding Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka. While, Mrs. Indira Gandhi weighed the family relationship more, she failed to realize the trouble ahead for the Tamil Indian Fishermen. In the end, Katchatheevu Island was ceded to satisfy personal desires.

“Katchatheevu was the most typical case of a personal equation playing the role of diplomacy. When the negotiations had virtually failed, and the Indian official delegation was pressurizing Indra Gandhi not to give up India’s claim on the islet, Srimavo Bandaranaika made a personal appeal to Indira Gandhi to come to her rescue as it would otherwise spell political disaster for her. Indira Gandhi appreciated Mrs. Srimao Bandaranaike’s predicament and manipulated the situation in such a way that it became a fait accompli even before the Indian delegation could react. Srimavo Bandaranaike remembered this gesture as late as 1990 with immense gratitude.
Prof. Partha Gosh in his book ” Ethnicity versus Nationalism.


THE 1974-1976 TRAITOROUS AGREEMENTS

The Island of Katchatheevu is a part of the Indian Union. It is very much within the sovereign and territorial limits of this Nation. Yet, the Central Government refuses to acknowledge this basic fact and transcending all its Constitutional authority, the Centre has allowed Sri Lanka to exercise its suzerainty over Katchatheevu Island. This has emboldened the Sri Lankan navy to continue with its unabated killing of our Tamil Fishermen. While, the Central Government is solely responsible for this malady, the DMK which occupies a predominant position in the Centre remains a mute spectator over the happenings.
Over the years the Government of India is making an unfounded statement that it has ceded its rights over Katchatheevu Island. By reciting the same statement over a long period of time, this untrue statement is now made to be believed as true. In the case of Katchatheevu Island this drama is unfolding since 1974. On 31.08.2010, during the discussion in the Lok Sabha and in earlier discussions in the Rajya Sabha, over Katchatheevu Island, the External Affairs Minister Mr.S.M. Krishna, asserted the following as his reply which are in fact false statement:

S.M. Krishna on the right

“Katchatheevu Island belong to Sri Lanka”
“What had been given is given”
“The agreement is solemn”
“It cannot be abrogated”
“It is not possible to provide security to the fishermen who transcend the borders”
“Sri Lanka is our friendly Nation”

What Mr. S.M. Krishna is referring to as solemn is the Agreement of the year 1974. This agreement can at the most be termed as a half printed currency note. It requires patience and endurance to understand the issue of Katchatheevu Island. The Sea between India and Sri Lanka is divided into Three Sectors. 1. The sea between Rameswaram and Talaimannar up to Adams BridgSe, which constitute the Palk Strait. (Katchatheevu Island is situated in this Sector at a distance of 11 nautical miles North East from Rameswaram and 18 nautical miles North West from Sri Lanka’s Talaimannar).
2. The Gulf of Mannar which is situated south of Adams Bridge.
3. The remaining portion excluding the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar the Bay of Bengal.
The Government of India and Sri Lanka have executed two agreements one during 1974 and another during 1976, over these three Sectors.

THE FIRST AGREEMENT :
The then Indian Prime Minister Mrs.lndira Gandhi and the then Sri Lankan President Mrs.Bandara Naickae executed the first ever agreement on Katchatheevu Island, in the year 1974, which amongst other things, primarily dealt with demarcating the sea boundary around Palk Strait which comprises the Island of Katchatheevu. This agreement also dealtwith the rights of the respective nations over the demarcated area.

THE SECOND AGREEMENT :
The second agreement was entered into in the year 1976, between the foreign Secretaries of both the nations. It covered the remaining area viz., the Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar, which were hitherto not covered in the earlier 1974 agreement. This agreement dealt with the rights of the respective nations over these sectors. Both the 1974 and 1976 agreements are independent of each other and they deal with two different sectors in the Sea. The covenants and substance of both these agreements are entirely different. Both these agreements are often mistaken as pertaining to one and the same issue and this confusion serves as an asset to the opponent while it is a malady to us. Before venturing to understand the 36 year long continued sufferings of our Tamil fishermen, we should first clear ourselves of our doubt in this issue. The 1974 agreement signed by leaders of both the nations and which is vehemently relied on by Mr.S. M.Krishna, requires an in-depth study.

THE 1974 INDO SRILANKAN MARITIME BOUNDARY AGREEMENT :
This agreement consists of VIII Articles. Article I, deals with demarcating the Maritime Boundary over Palk Straits which comprises the Katchatheevu Island. The principle of Equi-Distance demarcation, normally followed in International treaties was not followed, but instead the demarcation was carried on with a sole object of forgoing Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka. As such the Maritime Boundary was drawn above Katchatheevu Island at its West.
If the principle of Equi-Distance demarcation was followed, the Maritime Boundary would have fallen to the East of Katchatheevu Island and the Island would be well within the Indian Maritime Boundary.

The United States did not agree to this demarcation, which did not follow the principle of Equi-Distance demarcation. In a nutshell, the principle of Equi-Distance Demarcation, hundreds of documents from the year 1605 and the uninterrupted possession over the Island over the past thousand years would establish that the Island of Katchatheevu is part of the Indian territory. The fact that Katchatheevu Island is an Indian territory and had been ceded to Sri Lanka is embedded in Article V of the agreement which deals with the traditional rights of the Fishermen and Pilgrims to go over to the Katchatheevu island.

ARTICLE V :
Subject to the Foregoing Indian fishermen and pilgrims will enjoy access to visit Katcha Teevu as hitherto and will not be required by Sri Lanka to obtain travel documents or visa for these purposes. Article VI of the agreement protects the Indian fishing vessels right to venture into and stay in Sri Lankan waters.

ARTICLE VI :
The vessels of India and Sri Lanka will enjoy in each other’s waters such rights as they have traditionally enjoyed therein.

Article VII deals with effective utilization by both the countries of Gas and other mineral resources that may be discovered in this Sector. Although, this agreement include ceding Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka, in effect this agreement upholds and safeguards the traditional rights of our fishermen over this sector of the Sea, which include Island of Katchatheevu and the area surrounding it. The Island of Katchatheevu had remained within the suzerainty of both the Nations. When two sovereign nations exercise their suzerainty over a land or Island, such joint exercise of power is termed a Condominium. International Law permits exercise of such suzerain power by two or more nations over rivers, Seas and the land mass abutting the sea. The exercise of joint suzerain power by England and France since 1934 over Candon and Endenbury is a best example. The 1974 Indo Sri Lankan Pact, is based on this principle of joint exercise of suzerain power and not a complete ceding of territory as it is being portrayed by Mr.S.M.Krishna.

Even then the act of foregoing the territory of Island of Katchatheevu by Indira Gandhi is an act contrary to the Constitution of India. The Indian Constitution does not permit nor does it authorize any person to cede the country’s territory to any other Nation.

In 1958 when the village of Berubari was to be ceded to Pakistan, the then Indian President make a reference to the Supreme Court, under Article 143 (1) of the Constitution of India, seeking its view on the constitutionality of ceding the territory. The Supreme Court constituted an 8 member Bench, which after much deliberation, advised the Union Government, to carry out necessary amendments to Article 368 before ceding the territory. Accordingly, the Union Government amended Article 368 and thereafter ceded the territory to Pakistan.

Mrs.Indira Gandhi, who signed the 1974 agreement with Sri Lanka and her other officials as well, are quite aware of the need to obtain a Constitutional sanction before ceding the Island of Katchatheevu. Article VIII of the agreement refers to ratification and exchange of instruments which should take place at the earliest possible time.

ARTICLE VIII :
This agreement shall be subject to ratification. It shall enter into force on the date of exchange of the instruments of the ratification which will take place as soon as possible.
Article VIII of the agreement stipulates obtaining a ratification, which could be done by bringing a suitable amendment to the constitution before enforcing the agreement. No such ratification or sanction has been obtained. As such this agreement has lost its sanction, has become inoperative and unenforceable. The statement of External Affairs Minister Mr. S.M.Krishna, before Parliament, that this agreement cannot be abandoned it a contemptuous statement transcending the Constitution, for which act, the External Affairs Minister, the Prime Minister and his Council of Minister should be held responsible. It is this agreement of the year 1974, which has contributed to killing of nearly 500 Indian Fishermen, permanently disabled 1000 of them and disappearance at the same number.

This agreement which makes a mockery of the Indian Constitution, is according to our External Affairs Minister, Mr.S.M.Krishna, as declared by him before the parliament “a solemn agreement.” Mr.S.M.Krishna and his Ministerial counterparts have failed to remember having taken an oath to protect and preserve the Constitution. The numerous documents in hand, our Constitutional provisions, the covenants in the 1974 agreement, supports our view that India has a suzerain power over the Island of Katchatheevu, and continues to exercise that power and will continue to exercise the power over Katchatheevu and the surrounding Seas. In effect the Indian fishermen too exercise such rights over the Katchatheevu Island and the surrounding Seas. I challenge Mr.S.M.Krishna to defer with me. If he could disprove my statement I am ready to face the gallows. If my statement is upheld, will Mr.S.M.Krishna, amputate his tongue for having repeated a false and disproved statement.


WITNESS TESTIMONY OF TWO TAMILNADU FISHERMEN

Having ceded Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka, our Tamilnadu fishermen are facing the wrath of the Sinhala Goons. The following is a tearful testimony narrated by two Tamilnadu fishermen about the atrocities committed on them by the Sri Lankan Navy.

 

Testimony -1:

Oral Testimony of C.Soundar Rajan, (25 years as on 2009) fishermen, resident of Mandapagathur, Karaikal, Puduchery, State.
On 26.10.2006, along with my father Chinnappa and brother Chandrasekar, I ventured out into the Sea near Jagathapattinam in Pudukottai District. We were in possession of fishing pass issued by the Tamilnadu Government and we were fishing on the side of Mallipattinam within the Indian territory. Suddenly, there appeared a flotilla more than ten Sri Lankan Naval boats, firing indiscriminately on us. The first bullet hit me on the right side of my head near the rear side of my left head, resulting in fracture of my nose, backbone and upper jaw. Bullet pellets pierced my right shoulder, right thigh and on the right side of my body. Within seconds after firing on us the Sri Lankan Navy disappeared. I was brought to Thanjavur Hospital, where I was operated upon and bullets  and pellets were removed from my body. Still I have bullets in my brain and Doctors fear that any attempt to remove them will be fatal to me. Now I could hear nothing. I have become deaf. My right hand and leg has become permanently paralyzed. Still I could not breath through my nose and I could breath only through by mouth. In short I am a living dead.

When Nehru Attempted to cede Beru Bari “The Forward Block party severely condemn the attempt of Prime Minister Nehru to cede the Beru Bari region, a part of West Bengal to Pakistan without consulting the west Bengal Government.
It is a wrong proceedings which is against our Constitution as per article 3 of the constitution. I call upon the nation particularly the
people of west Bengal to unite together and prepare for all kinds of Sacrifices to retain Beru Bari within our Indian soil”.
– Muthuramalingathevar in a Press meet at Calcutta on 29/02/1959.

 

Testimony-2 :
Oral Testimony of K.Sekar (aged 45 years, as of 2009) permanent resident of Arcot Thurai, Vedaranyam Taluk,
Nagapattinam District. 28 29 We four of us were fishing near Kodiyakarai. As it is their usual practice, the Sri Lankan Navy came firing indiscriminately. Arumugam who accompanied me was got a bullet struck on his right thigh. Five bullets pierced my right hand above the elbow, as though my right hand had been forcibly cut. Due to this blood profused badly. Having no other option, but to bear with the tragedy, I remained floating in the Sea for three days. Having remained floating in the Sea for three days with severe injuries, my right hand got decayed. I had no other option but to amputate my right hand on my own and throw it into the Sea. These are scenes which are not witnessed even in Cinemas, These two events took place within the territorial waters of India. Since 1983, thousands of similar attacks have taken place against our innocent fishermen. Where did our Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard went missing when these attacks took place?


ATROCITIES FACED BY TAMILNADU FISHERMEN

AT THE HANDS OF SRI LANKAN NAVY
In the event of the Tamil fishermen being caught by the Sri Lankan Navy, the torturous acts and atrocities committed
on them by the Sri Lankan Navy cannot be described in words.

1. Undressing our Fishermen.
2. Firing at and mercilessly shooting down the Fishermen, even after they surrender by raising their arms in the air.
3. Forcing them to lie over Ice bars.
4. Forcing them to carry Ice bars on their heads.
5. Compelling them to lie knee down on Salt corns.
6. Forcing them to eat Masala Powder mixing it with Grease Oil.
7. Forcing them to intercourse with a dead Tirukai fish (Ray – Sting fish).
8. Compelling homosexuality, irrespective of whether the fishermen are father or son or brothers.
9. Spitting over their faces.
10. Compelling them to drink Urine.
11. Castigating the fishermen as Indian Bastards and coward Tamils.
12. Pushing the physically challenged fishermen into Sea.
13. Forcibly taking away the catched fishes.
14. Destroying nets worth several lakhs.
15. Forcibly snatching away gold rings, chains, cell phones and money owned by fishermen.
16. Threatening the fishermen with acid bottles.
17. Hitting and stamping the fishermen with boot legs.
18. Hitting hard with the Gun bud.
19. Drowning the fishermen in sea.
20. Arresting the fishermen and detaining them illegally in Sri Lankan Jails.
To spell out is shameful, but to suppress it is deceitful. These are some of the atrocities committed on our fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy. Retrieving Katchatheevu Island is the only solution to put an end to these atrocities.

TORTURE

Torture seeks to annihilate the victims personality and denies the inherent dignity of the human being
Torture is a crime under International law which means that it is binding on every member of the international community, regardless of whether a state has ratified international treaties in which torture is expressly prohibited. The systematic or wide spread practice of torture constitutes a crime against humanity
Secretary – General Banki-moon
message for the International Day in support of victims of Torture 2010