Sri Lankans cut short pilgrimage, fly back home
By Express News Service - TIRUCHY
05th September 2012 08:06 AM
A group of 184 Sri Lankan Christians, who faced the wrath of Tamil activists at the Poondi Basilica on Monday, cut short their pilgrimage to Our Lady of Health Basilica in Vailankanni on Tuesday as protestors followed them there and even hurled stones and footwear at their buses.
The Sinhalese people from Puttalam in Lanka — 83 of them women and 36 children — landed in Tiruchy on September 2 to attend the annual car festival that is underway in Vailankanni with plans of a prolonged stay.
But the series of protests by activists of MDMK and Naam Tamizhar Iyakkam made them board the special flight to Colombo on Tuesday evening with the women in tears and children screaming in fear. Though some of them have been making the pilgrimage for years — one of them for 34 years — panic was writ large on their faces when they entered the airport after 3 pm.
After the incident at Poondi, where they were besieged, the group went to Vailankanni only to face protestors trying to surround the seven buses they were travelling in. So, the group was advised to leave the country immediately. As they headed to Tiruchy to board the flight, stones and chappals were hurled at the buses at the Tiruvarur-Nagapattinam road junction. Though the protestors neither carried weapons nor tried to do any physical harm, their angry expression and fierce shouting made the pilgrims shudder.
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