Chennai, Feb 20 (BPNS)
AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O. Panneerselvam has sent a letter to the Union External affairs minister, S. Jaishankar to intervene in the issue of devotee’s participation at St. Anthony’s church in Katchatheevu.
Panneerselvam said that according to reports, the festival is to be held on March 11th and 12th and the Sri Lankan Government had decided to conduct the festival without the participation of the devotees which include fishermen of both India (Tamil Nadu) and Sri Lanka. He said that the Sri Lankan government had cited several reasons including security and the Covid pandemic to conduct the festival without the participation of devotees.
In the letter, the former Chief Minister mentioned that fishermen from the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu had traditionally undertaken a pilgrimage to St. Anthony’s Church, Katchatheevu in the past and requested the Union External affairs minister to immediately sort the matter out.
The chief coordinator of the AIADMK said that this has caused great frustration and heartburn to the devotees of the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.
It may be noted that Katchatheevu has been a contentious issue with the Sri Lankan navy arresting fishermen from Tamil Nadu for crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) near the Katchatheevu island. Several Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu were arrested and many were lodged in jails with their vessels compounded by the Sri Lankan authorities.