Indian groups attempting to invade Sri Lanka’s Kachchatheevu Island

Aug 14, Colombo: Demonstrators of Indian Tamil political groups are planning to forcefully enter Sri Lanka’s Kachchatheevu Island and raise the Indian Flag in the Sri Lankan territory, local media reports said Sunday.

According to a report in Sunday Leader Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main opposition political party in India, is making preparations to go by force to Kachchatheevu, the island ceded to Sri Lankan by India in 1974.

A BJP member has told the Sunday Leader that a group of Tamil Nadu politicians and fishermen are planning to go to the island by boat and raise the Indian flag, but no date has been set for the move yet.

However, the Sri Lankan Navy has said that it will block any attempt by the Indian demonstrators to cross the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) into Sri Lankan waters and reach the disputed island.

“We take the responsibility of Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. If anyone attempts to crossthe maritime boundary we will block them,” Sri Lanka’s navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya has told Xinhua news agency.

Kachchatheevu, an uninhabited island with only a Catholic shrine, was given to Sri Lanka by India in 1974 under an Indian Supreme Court directive.

The transfer has been under dispute since then as Indian fishermen claim they have the rights to fish around the island.

In June this year the new Chief Minister Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu government filed a petition in the Indian Supreme Court seeking the declaration of the 1974 agreement between India and Sri Lanka on ceding Kachchativu to the latter as unconstitutional.

Both Indian and Sri Lankan governments say the transfer cannot be reversed.

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