Hours after publishing a controversial article and picture maligning Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in its official website, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence and Urban Development removed them after strong protests from the AIADMK and leaders of various political parties in the state.
The write up titled ‘How meaningful are Jayalalitha’s love letters to Narendra Modi,’ along with a picture of Ms J Jayalalitha holding a pen and writing, a thought bubble in the shape of a heart with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture on it, evoked strong protests in the State and AIADMK M P Dr.V.Maithreyan raised the issue in Rajya Sabha, demanding that the Indian Government take up the issue seriously with Lanka.
The article written by one Shenali D Waduge and posted in the official website of Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, Government of Srilanka said ‘the International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) drawn up in 1974 and 1976 is a bilateral agreement between India and Srilanka and Tamilnadu Chief Mibnister can cry and hoot, but she cannot change the legality of this agreement honored by the two sovereign nations.’
Katchatheevu came under the jurisdiction of Srilanka following the IMBL and Lanka’s claim to Katchatheevu was made in 1924 while as far back as 1876 the Island was referred to as belonging to Srilanka, even the colonial invaders regarded the Island as belonging to Lanka. Thus, with bilateral agreement in place, it is Tamilnadu fishermen who are violating the IMBL and the arrest of fishermen poaching into Srilankan waters cannot be faulted on Srilanka.
It was the boat owners that forced the Indian fishermen to poach into Srilankan waters because the Indian side had no fish. These are some realities that the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu cannot ignore and her tantrums are dampening the otherwise positive outlook of the Modi-led BJP government.
Ms Jayalalitha should be advised to stop her tantrums and start looking at how the Indian fishermen can be absorbed into a new avenue of livelihood if there are no fish to fish in Indian waters. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned they say and that aptly puts to context the feelings of Jayalalitha towards Sri Lanka, it said.
After briefing how the Srilankan fishermen were affected due to bottom trawling by Tamilnadu fishermen, the article said Tamilnadu government and its Chief Minister should accept fault on several angles. Would Indian fishermen be allowed to poach in territorial waters that belong to other nations just because the Tamilnadu Chief Minister comes out with a list of reasons giving them right to ?, it questioned.
While commending the BJP government for taking a stand and appreciated for approving the measures taken by Srilanka in arresting and releasing the Indian fishermenm, but confiscating the boats, the article said with the latest letters of Tamilnadu Chief Minister directed at demanding the release of the boats, we can but wonder whether some of these may belong to her (Ms Jayalalitha) or her supporters. When Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is aware that the state fishermen are violating internationally demarcated waters and poaching, it is unjustified to ask the Indian Prime Minister to take action against Srilanka.
Accusing Ms Jayalalitha of attempting to dent the popularity of Indian Prime Minister and disturb the amity between the two nations, the article said her actions are obviously aligned to th undiplomatic and unscrupulous policies followed by the Sonia-led Congress government where the Central government of India was virtually kept strangulated and on a noose by successive Tamil Nadu governments.
It further said Tamilnadu Chief Minister may learn sooner than later that Narendra Modi is not a puppet to dance to her tantrums or threats. She should not attempt to embrass Mr.Modi by her unjustified outbursts. It will not look good on the new Indian Prime Minister, if he were to demand that Indian fishermen be allowed to cross the IMBL into Srilankan waters.
It was found at the end of the article that ‘The Ministry of Defence bears no responsibility for the ideas and opinion expressed by the numerous contributors to the Opinion Page of the website.
The outburst against Ms.Jayalalitha posted in the Srilankan official website was seen as an reprisal to her demand for retrieval of Katchatheevu, which was ceded to Lanka by India in 1974. Ms.Jayalalitha in her party manifesto in the recently held Lok Sabha election assured that her party will take all necessary steps to retrieve katchatheevu. She also said her party was determined to ensure that punishment was given through international court of justice to all those who committed war crimes and genocide against ethnic Tamils during the internal strife in Lanka.
political parties in the state, with MDMK General Secretary Vaiko and PMK Founder Dr S Ramadoss strongly condemning the derogatory article and pictures. The two leaders demanded that India must snap diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka in the wake of this transgression of politicl decency..
In a strongly worded statement, Mr Vaiko termed the article as ‘atrocious’ and said it was aimed at insulting the Chief Minister and the people of Tamil Nadu. The article reflected the ‘perverted’ attitute of the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry and the Lankan Government’s act was unpardonable and condemned in strongest possible terms.
The letters written by Ms Jayalalithaa to Prime Minister Narendra Modi were not just letters,they are aimed at wiping off the tears of the Eelam Tamils who are suffering in open jails in that country and pointed out the resolution adopted in the state Assembly calling for an international probe and try Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse before the International Court of Justice for war crimes and genocide of Tamils, Mr Vaiko said.
These letters, aimed at addressing the problems of Eelam Tamils and to find a solution to the frequent attacks of fishermen by the Lankan Navy, reflected the sentiments of 7.5 crore Tamils, he charged and appealed to the Indian Government to snap diplomatic ties with Sri Lanka and take strong action for publishing such a malicious article. Strongly condemning the article, Dr Ramadoss, in a statement, said the title of the article degrades Mr Modi and Ms Jayalalithaa and ‘it was not acceptable’. Stating that any criticism by the Lankan media could be tolerated taking it as freedom of expression, such demeaning article is unacceptable.
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