Tamil Nadu fishermen attend a church festival at Kachchativu in Sri Lanka

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Chennai, Mar 1 (ANI): Tamil Nadu fishermen participated in a festival at St Anthony's Church on Kachchativu island in Indian Ocean, which was at one time a stronghold of the now defunct Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Around 3,000 fishermen sailed from Rameshwaram to Kachchativu to take part in the festival after a gap of nearly three decades as restrictions had been imposed after the Eelam war in territorial waters of India and Sri Lanka.

Arokyaraj, a fisherman at Kachchativu prior to setting sail for Rameshwaram said, "After very long time, this church festival was held with the permission from both the governments (Indian and Sri Lankan). Such initiatives need to continue."

"After very long time Indian Tamils and Sri Lankan Tamils jointly celebrated the church festival. We felt very happy," added Arokyaraj.

Sri Lankan army defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels May last year bringing to an end 25 years of civil war.

The island was ceded to Sri Lanka as part of a maritime boundary agreement in 1974 by the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The annual festival at the famous St Anthony's Church had come to an end after the 1983 ethnic war. (ANI)

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