The Catholic Church has issued a travel warning against those visiting Tamil Nadu in India stating it is obvious that Tamil Nadu is currently not a conducive place for Sri Lankans to visit.
“All Catholics are hereby adviced to refrain from joining pilgrimages to Trichy for visiting of the Velankanni Shrine,” the statement in the “Messenger” the official organ of the Catholic Church said.
It said the authorities at the Shrine reveal that they are not in a position to guarantee the safety of devotees from Sri Lanka.
“Moreover, since the recent outbreak of protests against the Sri Lankan Community, it is obvious that Tamil Nadu is currently not a conducive place for the locals to visit.”
“This has prompted the Church authorities also to issue a timely warning to postpone pilgrimages specially to Velankanni, until the situation improves for the better,” the statement from the Church said.
The “Gnanartha Pradeepaya” the Sinhala publication of the Catholic Church also states that recently there have been many reports of incidents of harassment of Sri Lankan pilgrims by frenzied LTTE supporters of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile the Catholic Bishops of Jaffna and Mannar, Rt. Rev. Thomas Savundranayagam and Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, have vehemently condemned Tuesday’s mob attack on Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu.
The Jaffna Catholic Bishop, Rt. Rev. Thomas Savundranayagam, condemning the attack said, “all religions advocate brotherhood and respect to each. “I’m very sad to hear about the attack carried out on the innocent Lankan pilgrims who went on pilgrimage to Annai Velankanni shrine. The pilgrimages are made to fulfill the vows and to seek the blessings of the deities in the shrines. The attack on the innocent Catholic pilgrims in Tamil Nadu is unacceptable.”
Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, commenting on the Tamil Nadu incident said: “Pilgrimages of any religion from anywhere should be respected. Annai Velankanni is a highly venerated church, for Catholics around the world.
Thousands of pilgrims from India and a large number of non-Catholic pilgrims even from Sri Lanka travel to Velankanni, in the coastal area of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu.