The Central government has given its nod for participation of 100 fishermen pilgrims from Tamil Nadu in the December 23 consecration ceremony of St Antony’s Church at Katchatheevu.
The ceremony, scheduled earlier for December seven, was postponed by Sri Lankan government to December 23 following the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
“Following the sanction, TN government will make adequate arrangements for the pilgrims,” the state government said in a statement.
TN chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao shot off a letter to foreign secretary S Jaishankar indicating the interest of Rameswaram fishermen that 100 pilgrims desired to attend.However, external affairs ministry gave `no objection’ for the visit of only 20 persons from Tamil Nadu.
Panneerselvam had on December eight asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the External Affairs Ministry to facilitate the participation of all fishermen devotees from the state intending to participate in the consecration ceremony of the church at Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in the 1970s.
Panneerselvam urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate the participation of all fishermen who wish to participate in the event, as the Church holds “considerable cultural and religious significance to lakhs of fishermen from Tamil Nadu.”