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Fishermen celebrate St. Anthony festival at new shrine in southern India

Published: July 10, 2018

STORY: Devotees celebrated the Saint Anthony’s Church Festival with fervour in southern India’s coastal town of Rameswaram on Monday (July 09), where they have replicated the original shrine on Srilankan Katchatheevu Island.

The festival saw the presence of hundreds of devotees, most of whom are fishermen. The fishermen built the new shrine in Rameshwaram dedicated to Saint Anthony after multiple fishermen arrests by Sri Lankan navy near Katchatheevu Island, on the charges of poaching.

Originally, scores of pilgrims used to embark on a journey to the shrine of Saint Anthony on the island of Kachchatheevu, in Sri Lankan waters. Many still go to Katchtheevu as well, from Rameshwaram, but others have found a recluse here.

Ceded to Sri Lanka by former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974, the uninhabited island of Katchatheevu remains a disputed territory between fishermen of the two neighbouring countries.

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