Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday wrote to Union Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar requesting him to urge Sri Lanka to allow Tamil Nadu fishermen to take part in the annual festival of St. Anthony’s Church at Katchatheevu.
DMK MP T.R. Baalu handed over the letter to Mr. Jaishankar in New Delhi.
The festival of St. Antony is celebrated every February/March. The Sri Lankan authorities did not allow Tamil Nadu fishermen to take part in the festival this year “citing various reasons”, said the letter, a copy of which was shared with the media. “The Tamil fishermen and pilgrims have a spiritual and emotional attachment to St. Antony’s Church in Katchatheevu, and have been participating in this traditional event for several decades now. The news of the denial of permission by the Sri Lankan authorities has caused deep disappointment among the fishermen community in the State,” Mr. Stalin said.
The Chief Minister said the Tamil Nadu government was facilitating the safe journey of devotees to Katchatheevu every year and requested the Union Minister to urge the Sri Lankan government to allow the Tamil Nadu fishermen to take part in the festival. “I am sure your efforts will help in preserving good relations between the people of both countries.”