Indian pilgrims boycott Kachchativu annual religious festival for first time citing shooting incident – Navy Commander reveals many truths

(Lanka-e-News - 13.March.2017, 11.30PM)   The annual religious festival of Kachchaitivu was conducted and concluded with immense  splendor and grandeur on the 12 th. However for the first time in history, the Indian pilgrims boycotted the festival. 

Vice Admiral Raveendra Wijegunaratne , the Sri Lankan Navy Commander  who attended this festival said,   based on  a false publicity  campaign in India  over  an  alleged  shooting of an Indian fisherman by the Sri Lankan Navy  , the Indian fishermen boycotted the annual religious festival of  Kachchaitivu this year. The Navy Commander went on to comment as follows : 

‘The Indian pilgrims did not attend the festival citing the grounds that the Navy fired at an Indian fisherman .But our Navy repudiates the charge. We  have no need to fire at the Indian  fishermen.  What we usually  do is , if we apprehend an Indian fisherman within our territorial waters , we only arrest him and bring him before  the law. 

Specially if there is a necessity to fire at a craft  , the permission of the Navy Commander must be obtained before shooting  and that is only in the event of  a danger . Because of the latest communication technology , any Navy officer can contact me any time. Hence they should obtain my permission if they are in danger before firing. Nobody obtained my permission to shoot.  That means we have not done any shooting. We are conducting an investigation into this too ,which  is being done  with the participation of  a deputy chief of staff of the Navy.
 
When we did a probe based on our radar system , we observed that about 400 to 500 boats including Indian trawlers were anchored in our territorial waters. We requested the Indian  fishermen to inform us where exactly the G.P.S craft  was at 12.30 a.m. - the time of the supposed shooting on the day of the incident .

After the location of the craft is made known  to us , based on our radar  recordings , we can ascertain  whether a boat came into our waters, and its fate. We are expecting the Indian coastal conservation department to  provide us with the details as soon as possible. 

There is a close relationship between our Navy and the Indian coastal conservation force . We therefore communicate with them any time and vice versa.

The Indian coastal conservation department is confronting  an  issue : if there was a shooting incident why they were not immediately contacted .  This is a crucial question. The Sri Lanka Navy came to know about the alleged  shooting only on the following day (morning ) . If there had been an incident they could have spoken and intimated to us.   

Hence when we look at this issue there seems to be another unknown side to this. So far we have not even been furnished with definite details  of the G.P.S. craft .If that data is provided , we can conduct the investigation much better’ the Navy Commander explained.

The Kachchativu annual festival was  inaugurated   with the participation of Reverend Father Rodrigo Joseph Jebaratnam  of the Jaffna Diocese  , Christian priests and sisters .
  
SL Navy Commander pointed out , providing the necessary security and facilities to all the devotees this year was looked after Navy and the Jaffna district sceretariat .

High ranking officers of the Navy including Navy Commander Ravi Wijegunawardena , Jaffna security corps commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake ,  Jaffna district secretary Nagalingam Vethanayagam , and a large crowd of Sri Lankan Christian devotees participated in the event.  

Photos and Report By Dinasena Rathugamage

Translated By Jeff

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by     (2017-03-13 20:39:22)

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