Matters India |Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Tamil Nadu chief minister seeks PM Modi’s help in church event 

Chennai: Chief minister O Panneerselvam on Thursday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate the participation of all fishermen from the state, who wish to participate in the consecration ceremony of the newly constructed St Antony’s Church at Katchatheevu, without placing any restrictions on the numbers.

The ceremony was originally scheduled to be held on Thursday. TN chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao wrote to foreign secretary S Jaishankar seeking political clearance for the visit of pilgrims from TN to the island.

About 100 pilgrims desired to attend the event from Rameswaram, however, the ministry of external affairs conveyed `no objection” for the visit of only 20 persons, The Times of India reported.

“The political clearance accorded for participation of only 20 persons will disappoint the ardent devotees,” the chief minister said. Due to the sudden demise of chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Sri Lankan government postponed the ceremony , and has not indicated the further date for the ceremony .

Jayalalithaa had earlier requested Modi that construction of church should be taken up jointly by the Indian and Sri Lankan sides in view of the joint heritage of fishermen from both sides.

Meanwhile, Union external affairs ministry informed the Madurai Bench of Madras high court on Thursday that the formal consecration ceremony would take place along with the annual festival next March.

The HC was hearing a PIL on permitting Tamil Nadu pilgrims to attend the consecration ceremony.

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