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* Sri Lanka Navy to assist pilgrims to annual Kachchativu Feast
Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 12:56 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 14, Colombo: The annual feast of the St Anthony's Church in Kachchativu island of Sri Lanka will be held on March 15th and 16th.

Sri Lanka Navy is providing assistance to thousands of devotees including clergy from Sri Lanka and India expected to attend the annual festival of St. Anthony's Church dedicated to St. Anthony, the patron-saint of seafarers.

Navy Spokesman Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya said all arrangements have been made to provide facilities and security for the devotees.

The Navy says it will provide all accommodation, electricity, sanitary facilities and drinking water in the island to conduct the feast in a grand scale under the direction of Defence and Urban Development Ministry and supervision of Navy Commander Vice Admiral Jayanath Colombage.

The navy will deploy special lifesaving and medical teams to ensure the safety of the devotees attending the annual festival. Temporary jetties have been erected to secure boats.

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.

India ceded the Kachchativu Island to Sri Lanka in 1974 but the South Indian Tamil Nadu state politicians demand the central government to take the island back.

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