SLA allows devotees into Ottahapulam Church after 14 years

[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 July 2003, 21:16 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army Sunday allowed Christian devotees to hold religious observances at the Ottahapulam St James' Church, located in the high security zone about one thousand meters away from the Palaly military base in the Jaffna district, for the first time in fourteen years, civil sources said.

Parish Priest Rev. Fr. Anthony Thaas held the Holy Mass at the church, built in the year 1914, church authorities said.

Devotees were allowed to enter the area where the church is located only through the sentry point at the Achchuveli forward defence position of the SLA and other entry points to the church area were blocked by the SLA when the Holy Mass was being held, sources said

At least two hundred and fifty devotees participated in the Holy Mass on Sunday, sources said.

About two hundred families lived in the village of Ottahapulam till 1987. All of them were displaced from the village due to the military operation launched by the SLA in 1987. The SLA is still not allowing the displaced families to resettle in the village, saying that it comes under the HSZ, civilian sources said.

According to Rev. Fr. Anthony Thaas, no statues and other materials were found in the church and windows and doors were completely damaged.

 

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