Colombo, December 7 (NIA): The inauguration of the newly constructed St.Anthony’s chapel on Kachchativu island which was due to be held on Wednesday, has been postponed until further notice because of the demise of J.Jayalalithaa, Tamil Nadu Chief minister, last Sunday.
The parish priest of Delft Island, Fr.Jayaranjan, who is in-charge of the chapel on Kachchativu island said that a new date for the inauguration will be announced later in consultation with the Diocese of Jaffna, and the Governments of Sri Lanka and India.
“The government of India had cleared the names of 20 Tamil Nadu fishermen to attend the inauguration. These will be attending the function when a new date is fixed,” the priest said.
The re-construction and expansion of the small chapel became controversial when the Bishop of Jaffna decided to have it done by the Sri Lankan navy and the navy started work. Tamil nationalists in Tamil Nadu and the Government of Tamil Nadu protested against the use of the Sri Lankan navy which it said was harassing Tamil Nadu fishermen while “legitimately” fishing around Kachchativu. The Sri Lankan navy had also been accused of committing war crimes during Eelam War IV.
There was also a demand that Tamil Nadu fishermen should have been made part of the construction project.
But the Bishop of Jaffna defended his decision to deploy the navy saying that only the navy had the wherewithal to build any such offshore structures. Moreover, the navy was going to do it free of charge. Eventually the navy did the project, finishing it as per the deadline given.
(The featured picture at the top shows devotees thronging the St.Anthony’s chapel on Kachchativu)