Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday expressed concern over the denial of permission for fishermen-devotees of Tamil Nadu to participate in the annual festival of St Antony’s Church at Katchatheevu, New Indian Express reported.
He urged External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar to enable the participation of Tamil Nadu fishermen in this festival by taking up the issue with Sri Lankan government.
The Chief Minister, in his letter to the EAM, said during February/March, the State government has been facilitating the safe journey of fishermen-devotees from Tamil Nadu who wish to participate in the festival at Katchatheevu. But this year, citing various reasons, Lankan authorities have denied permission for devotees from Tamil Nadu.
“Tamil fishermen and pilgrims have a spiritual and emotional attachment with St Antony’s Church, Katchatheevu and have been participating in this traditional event for several decades now. The news of denial by Sri Lankan authorities has caused deep disappointment among the fishermen community in the State,” the Chief Minister pointed out.
Requesting the EAM to enable the participation of Tamil Nadu fishermen in the festival, as has been the tradition every year, he said, “I am sure your efforts will result in preservation of the good relations between people of both countries.”