A Hindu religious group, ‘Eelam Siva Senai’, has forwarded a request through Northern Governor Reginald Cooray seeking permission for a ferry service from Kankesanturai (KKS) to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to attend a Hindu pooja in Chidambaram.
The organization requested both governments to facilitate a ferry service for Siva devotees who intend to participate in the Thiruvathira festival on a full moon poya day in December at the Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram. The pilgrimage is set to take place between December 28 and January 13.
“We came to know from senior officials attached to the foreign ministries of both governments that they have agreed to facilitate this ferry service at ‘policy level’. We are still waiting for an official confirmation,” the leader of Siva Senai, Maravanpulavu K.Sachithananthan told the Sunday Times.
Recommending that Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera take up the matter with Indian authorities, Governor Cooray noted that “this initiative could enhance the ongoing reconciliation process” and urged that a team be detailed to set up a modus operandi for the trip.
The new Hindu religious outfit is committed to serving the interests of Hindus in Sri Lanka and claimed its sole objective is the betterment of Hindu society in the country.
“This tradition of going to the Chidambaram temple in December has a rich history which dates back 2000 years. It was stopped since independence. We are not asking anything new but requesting the revival of that old tradition the Hindus practised years ago,” he said explaining why his movement came up with the idea of a ferry service.
Meanwhile at least 100 fisher pilgrims from Tamil Nadu have been allowed to participate in the consecration ceremony at St Anthony’s Church, Katchathivu island on December 23, a spokesperson from the Indian High Commission said.
Earlier the number of devotees allowed was twenty but later it was increased to a hundred after Indian authorities took up the matter with their Sri Lankan counterparts. Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) Leader Arumugam Thondaman said in a statement that he had secured the nod from President Maithripala Sirisena when he was requested through a letter by Sasikala Natarajan, who was sworn in as General Secretary of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) following the death of Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.