The District Country Craft Fishermen Welfare Association has petitioned the Union Government and the State Government to allow 200 traditional fishermen from Tamil Nadu to offer prayers at Saint Anthony Church in Katchatheevu.

A meeting of fishermen, led by the president of the association SP Rayappan, adopted a resolution to this effect here on Friday.

The Sri Lankan government has refused permission for traditional fishermen in Tamil Nadu, in view of the COVID-19 situation, to participate in the annual St. Anthony’s Church Festival to be held on March 11-12.

Stating that the century-old church was built by the fishermen of Tamil Nadu, the association said 200 traditional fishermen should be allowed to participate in the festival by following COVID-19 preventive standards.

The association also condemned the Sri Lankan government’s attempt to auction boats belonging to Tamil Nadu fishermen seized by the Sri Lankan navy. The State and the Center should take steps to recover these boats.

The association also called on the state government to reconsider the amount of compensation announced for boats seized by the Sri Lankan Navy.