Sri Lankan Catholics, whether Tamil or Sinhalese, are very much devoted to Annai Velankanni and they should not be prevented from visiting the shrine, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundaranayagam, the Bishop of Jaffna, said.
Speaking to New Indian Express the Bishop said pilgrims should not be stopped at all.
The Tamil Nadu police last Sunday turned back 70 Lankan pilgrims even before they reached the Annai Velankanni shrine fearing violence by Tamil nationalist groups.
On September 04, last year, two buses carrying Sri Lankan pilgrims were attacked in Thanjavur and a pilgrimage to churches in Velankanni and Poondi Matha in central Tamil Nadu turned out to be a nightmare for a group of Sri Lankan nationals when pro-Eelam groups protested against them at the shrines and later attacked them. The 184- group of pilgrims was compelled to cut short their visit and leave India on a special Mihin Lanka flight at that time.