Tamil Nadu chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao on Thursday requested the central government to accord necessary ‘no objection’ for the fishermen of Tamil Nadu to participate in the consecration ceremony of a building of St Antony’s Church on the Katchatheevu islet. The event is scheduled to take place on December 7.
In a letter to Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar, State Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao also requested the Centre to arrange to provide necessary protection and assistance to the pilgrims from Tamil Nadu.
He said the District Collector of Ramanathapuram has forwarded a copy of the representation received from Sahayaraj, the Parish Priest, St Joseph’s Church, Vercode, Rameswaram, stating that about 100 devotees from the state were keen to attend the consecration function of the newly constructed Church building of the St Antony’s Church at Katchatheevu on December seven and sough necessary arrangements for their participation.
Rao urged the Centre “to provide necessary protection and assistance to the pilgrims from Tamil Nadu,” to participate in the consecration adding “I request your urgent action in the matter.”
He said the consecration of church’s new building held “considerable religious and cultural significance” for the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and their participation in the event is their “inalienable right.”
He also recalled that every year the annual festival of this church was attended by a large number of fishermen pilgrims and necessary arrangements were made for their safe travel and protection by the Tamil Nadu government in consultation with the Centre.