Protests all the way till airport
By Express News Service - TIRUCHY
05th September 2012 09:20 AM
Amid vociferous protests, 184 Sri Lankan pilgrims, including 83 women and 36 children, were sent back to their nation by a special flight on Tuesday.
A large number of protestors gathered along the route to the airport.
Police had a tough time ensuring their safe passage.
While Lankan intelligence officers who were present claimed they were Tamil-speaking people, airport authorities clarified that they were Sinhalese who knew Tamil.
The group from Puttalam came to Tiruchy on September 2.
On Tuesday, they were on their way to the airport after cutting short their pilgrimage.
MDMK workers gathered at Palpannai Roundabout and demonstrated with black flags.
But, 31 cadre were arrested before the arrival of the pilgrims.
Around 2. 30 pm, while they were nearing Tiruchy in six vans, a group pelted stones at the vehicles at Ariyamangalam.
No one was hurt though the windscreens of a couple of vehicles were damaged.
Around 3 pm, the vehicles reached the airport.
“We have been visiting Velankanni for 20 years but have not encountered anything like this,” Chandra Kumari, a pilgrim, said.
At the airport, authorities arranged food for the pilgrims.
Pilgrimage cut short
NAGAPATTINAM: A total of 184 Sri Lankan nationals who arrived at Velankanni on Tuesday with plans for a stay at the holy town, had to cut short their trip and return home the same day due to protests by pro-Eelam activists.
The CPM on Tuesday expressed concern over the alleged harassment of pilgrims from Sri Lanka during their visit to a church in Tiruvarur.
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