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Lankan Navy constructing new church at Katchatheevu

By PTI Updated: May 27, 2016 12:09 am

New Delhi, May 26: Government today said Sri Lankan Navy is undertaking construction of a new church adjacent to an ancient church at Katchatheevu, amid apprehension in Tamil Nadu that over a century-old shrine will be demolished.

“The Sri Lankan Navy is undertaking construction of a new church in response to request made by the bishop of Jaffna to the commander of the Sri Lanka Navy.

“It has been reported that the existing church will be retained unchanged and the second shrine is proposed to be constructed approximately 100 metres away from the present shrine,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said replying to a question.

He said the Sri Lankan navy has also dismissed media reports that it was planning a naval facility at Katchatheevu.

The ancient church in Sri Lanka is visited by thousands of people from Tamil Nadu during the Katchatheevu festival.

Earlier this month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention following reports that the ancient church will be demolished to construct a new one.

She had said the “unilateral” decision by Sri Lanka has created fears among Indian fishermen from the state that it could curtail their traditional and customary access to St Antony’s church in Katchatheevu.

By PTI Updated: May 27, 2016 12:09:05 am