SLA restricts devotees performing ritual in Chelvachchannathi Temple

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 September 2008, 17:37 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna did not permit all the devotees who attended the water-cutting (Theertham)ceremony held Monday in Tho’ndaimaanaa’ru Chelvachchannathi temple located on the east of Tho’ndaimaanaa’ru lagoon to perform their annual water-cutting rituals of bathing in the lagoon. Only a few of the many thousands who wanted to perform this rite were allowed to bathe in the lagoon by the SLA soldiers who were deployed in large numbers around the temple precincts. Thousands of devotees from all parts of Jaffna peninsula attended the Thear festival (car) held Sunday and the water-cutting festival Monday.

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Sri Lanka Red Cross (SLRC) local representatives stood by the limited area marked out in the lagoon for the devotees to perform the bathing rites.

Palaali SLA High Security Zone begins on the west side of Tho’ndaimaanaa’ru lagoon where the devotees perform rites while bathing in the holy waters of Chelvachchannathi Koayil annually.

The SLA troops who were present 24 hours Sunday and Monday subjected the devotees to rigorous checking and interrogation.

It is not known whether anyone has been taken into custody during the check and interrogation.

Though transport facilities were available both days the number of devotees was found less this year than the festivals drew from all parts of Jaffna peninsula last year, the temple authorities said.

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