Stalin slams BJP for “somersault” on Katchatheevu, dubs RTI disclosure “wrong information”

Vellore (Tamil Nadu): Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Tuesday said the BJP has done a “somersault” on the Katchatheevu issue since the LS polls are round the corner.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not have the guts to neither condemn Sri Lanka over fishermen arrests nor oppose China on its claims over Arunachal Pradesh. When that is the case, how can he talk about Katchatheevu? he asked.

Stalin, president of the ruling DMK, in an election rally here, hit out at Modi for staging a “drama” and coming up with “stories” on the Katchatheevu issue and dubbed the disclosures by the Centre on the matter under RTI as “wrong information.”

He asked how the government had given “wrong information” concerning the nation’s security under the RTI to an individual belonging to the BJP, Tamil Nadu unit chief K Annamalai. Such documents provided under RTI were documents related to the nation’s security.

The BJP government had not provided answers on Katchatheevu by stating that the subject was sub judice as the matter was pending before the Supreme Court. The BJP regime in 2015 said that Katchatheevu had never been a part of India. That information was provided by S Jaishankar who was the then foreign secretary. “Since the elections are round the corner, they have changed the information as per their wish. Why this somersault?

Has PM Modi, during his 10-year tenure, who is now talking on Katchatheevu has ever condemned Sri Lanka over arrest of fishermen and firing instances against them? Why did he not do that?

Stalin asked why Modi has not spoken on China which is claiming that Arunachal Pradesh is its territory. “There is no courage to censure Sri Lanka. There is no courage to oppose China. How can you talk about Katchatheevu?

The BJP, which came to power in 2014 submitted in the Supreme Court, in a related matter, that to have Katchatheevu back, war with Sri Lanka was the only option.

Stalin demanded to know if PM Modi during his visit to Sri Lanka had sought return of Katchatheevu and if he conveyed to the neighbouring country that the island belonged to India. Modi did not remember Katchatheevu during his foreign visit.

The Chief Minister said he had on May 26, 2022 when the Prime Minister visited Chennai for an event he had sought retrieval of Katchatheevu to uphold the traditional fishing rights of fishermen. “Do you remember that? he asked and slammed Modi for staging a drama and coming up with stories on the Katchatheevu issue.

Stalin wondered how the Centre furnished information on such an important matter to the petitioner in “four working days” from the receipt of application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

For many years, there were no appropriate answers in Parliament whenever questions were raised on Katchatheevu and though several persons had sought information under RTI, clear information was not provided.