Lankan pilgrims' vans attacked

Lankan pilgrims' vans attacked

A sudden wave of hostility towards the people from Sri Lanka visiting Tamil Nadu in the backdrop of some recent controversies took an ugly turn on Tuesday when some vans carrying about 180 Lankan Christian pilgrims was stoned by miscreants.

Catholics from Sri Lanka, visiting the famous 16th century Portuguese-built church at coastal Velankanni in Nagapattinam district during its on-going annual “Arokya Maatha” (Mother of Good Health) festival, were returning to Tiruchirappalli on Tuesday, when a group of 10-15 people, believed to be rabidly pro-Tamil elements, suddenly came on to the road and stoned vehicles ferrying them.

A top police official in Tiruchirappalli told Deccan Herald when reached over telephone this evening that the Lankan pilgrims were moving with police escort when the incident happened. Though windscreens of a couple of vans were smashed, there was no serious injury to any of the visiting pilgrims, the official said. “They have all safely reached Tiruchirappalli airport and will leave later tonight for Colombo by a special aircraft,” the official said, adding, a case has been registered.

Last evening, the Lankan pilgrims group met with protests from volunteers of the pro-LTTE Tamil Group “Naam Tamizhar” when they had first visited the Punithamaatha Church near Thanjavur.

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