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Congress brings up 2015 Bangladesh land pact to counter Katchatheevu charge

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Congress brings up 2015 Bangladesh land pact to counter Katchatheevu charge

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Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Sunday responded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark against the party over the decision by the Indira Gandhi government to hand over the strategic Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974.

In response to PM Modi’s “Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu” remark, Jairam Ramesh raked up the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh from 2015 and said the accord signed under the NDA government led to the shrinking of India’s land area by 10,051 acres.

He said 17,161 acres of Indian territory were handed over while only 7,110 acres were received. “Rather than make juvenile allegations on the Prime Minister, the Congress Party supported the Bill in both Houses of the Parliament,” said Jairam Ramesh.

The Congress leader also alleged that the Prime Minister highlighting the issue of Katchatheevu was a pre-poll tactic by the BJP. “Faced with getting exactly zero seats in Tamil Nadu, the PM and his drumbeaters have become desperate,” said Jairam Ramesh.

PM Modi’s comment on the island came after a Right To Information (RTI) report revealed how the Congress government led by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi handed over Katchatheevu island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The RTI application was filed by Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai.

Jairam Ramesh retorted to PM Modi and listed the “chronology”, alleging that Annamalai filed the RTI application to “create a diversionary issue in Tamil Nadu”.

“While lakhs of RTI queries on pressing public issues are ignored or rejected, this one gets VVIP treatment and gets answered rapidly,” said the Congress leader.

He accused the BJP of “match-fixing” and said PM Modi amplified the issue after Annamalai revealed the RTI reply.

Jairam Ramesh also countered the Prime Minister’s charge and said in 1974 — the year Katchatheevu was handed over to Sri Lanka — the Sirima Bandaranaike-Indira Gandhi Pact allowed the repatriation of 6,00,000 Tamil people from Sri Lanka to India.

“In a single move, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi secured human rights and dignity for six lakh hitherto stateless people,” said the Congress leader.

He also attacked PM Modi over the India-China skirmishes over the years and said, “The real threat to the integrity of the nation has been the large-scale encroachment of the Chinese PLA on Indian territory in the last few years.”

Jairam Ramesh accused the Prime Minister of “giving a clean chit” to China after the 2020 Galwan clashby declaring that not a single Chinese soldier has crossed over into Indian territory – even as the BJP’s own MPs have confirmed Chinese incursions onto our land”.

On June 15, 2020, twenty Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of Chinese troops died in a clash in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. The nighttime skirmish escalated border tensions between the two neighbouring nations.

Jairam Ramesh’s response followed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked the Congress on Sunday over the Katchatheevu issue. PM Modi also brought up the issue at a poll rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.

Published By:

chingkheinganbi mayengbam

Published On:

Mar 31, 2024

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