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* Sri Lanka Navy assists pilgrims to Kachchativu Island
Mon, Mar 1, 2010, 01:00 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka Navy is providing assistance to thousands of devotees attending the annual festival of St.Anthony's church, in the Kachchativu Island, the Navy said.

Thousands of Indian pilgrims as well as Sri Lankan Catholics are attending the feast of the holy shrine, which began Saturday. The event scheduled for two days concluded today (28).

The Navy said 3,387 devotees on board 114 boats left Rameswaram yesterday morning accompanied by Indian Coast Guard. They were handed over to the Sri Lanka Navy at the Indo-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) in the Northern seas of Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Navy provided water and sanitary facilities for the devotees in addition to the security for the festival.

India ceded the Kachchativu Island to Sri Lanka in 1974. The devotees from India continued to attend the festivities of the St. Anthony's Church which was established in 1905. The practice was interrupted during the three-decade long conflict during which the public was not allowed to visit the island due to security situation.

(Picture courtesy of Sri Lanka Navy)

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