Chennai, Feb 16 (UNI) Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) General Secretary Vaiko today urged the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to make arrangements for fishermen from Rameswaram to take part in the St Antony Church festival to be held at Katchativu by the end of this month.
In a statement here, he said the fishermen had the right to visit Katchativu and take part in the festival, but they were denied entry into the island by the Sri Lankan Navy since 2002.
After Katchativu was handed over to Sri Lanka in 1974, fishermen from Tamil Nadu were facing problem and prevented from visiting it, though they had rights to take rest in the island and dry their nets while returning from fishing, he said.
In the year 2002, only 60 fishermen were allowed to take part in the church festival and the number came down to 11 in 2005. As per the agreement, the fishermen had the right to visit the Church in the island, but despite many agitations, they could not ascertain their rights, Mr Vaiko added.
The Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the DMK government in Tamil Nadu should take immediate steps and make all arrangements for fishermen to take part in the festival, he said.
UNI WS ROY BDP DS1550