Apropos tamil fishermen killings by Sri Lankan navy

Here is an interesting article or rather an editorial from the well respected newspaper based in Calcutta, The Statesman.
Unfortunately, the e-version of the newspaper does not redirect well to its archives.
The URL is here and part of the editorial below. Maybe it is time to invoke the “son of the soil” theory in TN to regain its past(500+ years) back glory! SL was part of Chola empire and it was sacked once just because the Chola representative was humiliated by the king there!


Barbaric act of Sri Lankan Navy
YET another killing of a Tamil Nadu fisherman within 10 days, that too in a barbaric way by the Sri Lankan Navy, is a reflection of the extent to which President Mahinda Rajapaksa allowed his armed forces to be brutalised in its fight against the LTTE and his firm belief that India will not go beyond issuing statements condemning the killings. After all it was India that bailed out Sri Lanka, in association with China and Pakistan, when it was arraigned by the international community for gross violation of human rights, particularly of its Tamil citizens, two years ago. Unlike the 500-odd Tamil Nadu fishermen shot dead by the Sri Lankan Navy in the last three decades, N Jayakumar, 28, the latest victim, was asked to jump into the sea from his boat. As he hesitated, the naval officers boarded his boat, tied a rope around his neck, pushed him into the sea and dragged him by their vessel until he died. M Karunanidhi, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, wrote his customary protest letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who in turn promised to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan President. SM Krishna, External Affairs Minister, repeated parrot fashion “this is not acceptable.” That ended his responsibility. The fishermen are no longer content with the charade our political class has been playing out. Tens of thousands of fishermen have not ventured into the sea since last Sunday when Jayakumar’s body was brought ashore. K Bharathi, president of South Indian Fishermen’s Welfare Association, wanted the government to issue the fishermen gun licences and train them in handling arms for self-defence. M Kathirvel, president of the Pushpavanam fishing hamlet from where Jayakumar ventured into sea last Saturday only to be brought back in a coffin, said the entire population has decided to set sail in their boats to seek asylum in Sri Lanka as they did not want to lead a life in constant fear of being brutally killed by the Sri Lankan Navy. These are ominous signs for New Delhi; it must go beyond issuing statements and sending demarches to the Sri Lankan envoy.
The crux of the fishermen problem could be traced to the government of Indira Gandhi, ably assisted by Sardar Swaran Singh, then External Affairs Minister, gifting Kachchativu, a tiny islet in the Palk Bay which had been an integral part of Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, to Sri Lanka in 1974, without even consulting the State government. Under Article 3 (c) of the Constitution, before ceding any territory of any State, a Bill should be introduced in Parliament and the President should refer it to the State legislature “for expressing its views thereon.” No such procedure was followed in the case of ceding Kachchativu to Sri Lanka. The unconstitutional cession had drastically reduced the area of fishing for Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay. On 4 July, 1974, K Krishnamoorthy, secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit of the erstwhile Jana Sangh, filed a petition for the issue of a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ to restrain the Union government from ceding Kachchativu to Sri Lanka as no cession of Indian territory can take place without a constitutional amendment. It was the heyday of Indira Gandhi’s ‘committed judiciary’ and keeping with the spirit of the times Justice P N Bhagavati of the Supreme Court dismissed the petition without any hearing. Unless the Sri Lankan government means business and restrains its Navy from wanton killing of Tamil Nadu fishermen, a new state government in which the Congress is not an ally, could still challenge the gifting of Kachchtivu.

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