Madhu devotees pray in peace
[TamilNet, Friday, 18 August 2000, 06:20 GMT]
Only boy scouts and no members of the armed forces or Liberation Tigers were present in areas surrounding the Madhu shrine, and tranquil atmosphere prevailed allowing people to conduct their prayers in peace, said Christopher Fernando, a devotee from Negombo who visited the Madhu shrine during the August festivals.
"My wife, Irangani Fernando and I visited Madhu and prayed for peace and an end to war," said Christopher Fernando. He added that after they crossed the army checkpoint at Piramanalankulam and entered the area controlled by Liberation Tigers, they were warmly received by people living there.
He added "Since we knew that there were shortages of essential items, we took adequate supplies of food and other items. We were shocked at the prices of some essential items such as kerosine oil and coconut oil, but we did not have to buy them.
"Locally grown vegetables and fruits, such as Palmyrah root and mangoes, and fish products such as dried fish were brought to local markets in Madhu by the locals, and the prices were lower than those in Colombo and Vavuniya.
"There are rumours that Tigers force the devotees from the South to pay 1000 rupees to them, and I can say that this is not true," said Fernando.
He added that due to the heavy rains on the 14th of August, several people were inconvenienced but there were no other damages. In a place where thousands of devotees have assembled, there were no unruly incidents or thefts, said Christopher Fernando.