SL Navy transforms disputed Kachchatheevu islet into military zone

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 December 2016, 22:28 GMT]
The occupying navy of genocidal Sri Lanka has put up a naval detachment with helipad at Kachchatheevu island, which is situated on the trans-oceanic sea-routes of the Palk Strait and has long been an island of contention between Tamil Nadu State in India and the unitary Sinhala State occupying the country of Eezham Tamils. Using the hostile atmosphere prevailing between Tamil Nadu fishermen and Eezham Tamil fishermen due to much disputed illegal and destructive means of fishing by the trawler operators from Tamil Nadu and appeasing the Catholic Establishment in Jaffna by volunteering to reconstruct the church of Saint Antony at Kachchatheevu, the occupying navy has transformed the islet into a military ‘security zone’. The late Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Ms Jayalalithaa was at odds with New Delhi opposing Colombo’s territorial rights to the island.

SL Navy base in Kachchatheevu
A building of SL Navy, which is now permanently based at Kachchatheevu, photographed by journalists who visited Kachchatheevu on Friday

SL Navy declaring open church at Kachchatheevu
SL Navy Commander, accompanied by SL Governor to North, declares open the reconstructed St Antony's Church at Kachchatheevu
Kachchatheevu ceremony
The Tamil fishermen community on either side of the Palk Bay shared the waters peacefully, carried out their petty trade, a historical right of them which in the eyes of Establishments was ‘smuggling’, and gathered together to observe the annual fete of the church at Kachchatheevu.

The uninhabited islet of Kachcha-theevu lying between Neduntheevu Island off Jaffna and Rameswaram of Tamil Nadu was un-demarcated between India and Sri Lanka until 1974, when Indira Gandhi government decided to cede it to Sri Lanka with some reservations.

According to the provisions, Tamil Nadu fishermen could rest at the islet during fishing and also could visit the annual church fete, conducted jointly by the dioceses of Jaffna and Ramnad. The island long served a place for the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and the fishermen of Mannaar and Jaffna in the island, to dry nets and to take rest apart from being a refuge at times of emergency.

The State Establishments in Colombo and New Delhi, that have consistently violated the sovereignty of Eezham Tamils entered into an agreement on the possession of the island in 1974.

Although the ‘sovereignty’ of the island was ceded to genocidal Sri Lankan State, the fishermen and pilgrims from India were to continue to have access to visit Kachchatheevu as it was before, without any travel document required by the SL authorities.

Even though the uninhabited islet was ceded in 1974, until the late 1980s there were no cases of killing or harassment of the Tamil Nadu fishermen.

During the times of war, the SL Navy was also blocking Tamil Nadu fishermen from accessing the islet, except for one night and two days of the annual fete.

Now, the SL military has transformed the islet into a military zone. The SL Navy is also having a plan to establish a Buddhist vihara at the islet.

On Friday, journalists from Jaffna who were present to witness the inauguration ceremony of the church were blocked at gunpoint from taking photographic evidence of the naval detachment of the SL Navy.

Initially, the SL military was working towards blocking pilgrims from Tamil Nadu from attending the inauguration ceremony, which was scheduled on 07 December. The ceremony was postponed to December 23 following the demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on 05 December.

SL Governor to North, Reginald Cooray, who has been promoting the SL Navy to put up controversial Buddhist temples in the islets off Jaffna and who functioned as the broker in deceiving the Catholic Establishment in Jaffna to collaborate with the designs of the SL Navy, was accorded ‘Chief Guest’ welcome along with the commander of SL Navy.

The SL Government Agent of Jaffna, SL Navy's Commander of ‘Northern Naval Area’ and the Bishop of Jaffna were also present.

82 Catholics from Tamil Nadu along with a priest were also ‘allowed’ to take part in the inauguration ceremony by the SL Navy.

Kachchatheevu ceremony
Kachchatheevu ceremony
The reconstructed St. Antony's Church
The reconstructed St. Antony's Church at Kachchatheevu

Kachchatheevu Map
Satellite image showing the location of Kachchatheevu [Image courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth, Legend by TamilNet]
Indo-Lanka boundary in Historic Waters
Maritime boundary in the Historical Waters of the Palk Bay between India and Sri Lanka. [Courtesy: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, 1975]
SL-India maritime borders
Explanation to the coordinates of the maritime boundary shown in the map [courtesy: U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Intelligence and Research]

Related Articles:
05.12.16   Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms Jayalalithaa passes away
07.03.12   Tamil Nadu Catholic Church reminds umbilical cord relations ..
11.06.11   Oil, canal and security cause call for retrieval of Kachcha-..
12.03.08   Take back Kachchatheevu: Indian Parliamentarians
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