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Over 4000 Indian devotees to attend Katchatheevu festival

23 February 2015 - 62   - 0

Over 4000 Indian devotees are expected to attend the annual feast of the St Anthony's Church in Katchatheevu Island this year. The annual St. Antony's Church festival at Katchatheevu islet will begin on February 28. According to Indian officials, 4,336 pilgrims from India are getting registered so far to participate in the two-day festival. The officials have said that 110 mechanized boats had been kept ready to take devotees to the island, while two were for security purposes, PTI reported. Indian Coast Guard would escort the devotees up to the International Maritime Boundary Line and then hand them over to their counterparts in Sri Lanka, they said. All the Indian pilgrims would leave the island on March 1. The Sri Lankan Navy, in addition to the security for the festival, provides all infrastructure facilities, including installation of sanitary and drinking water facilities to the thousands of both Sri Lankan and Indian devotees who attend 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.

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