Saturday, April 26, 2008

Madhu church open to public soon

Security forces hand over shrine to Mannar Bishop:

Making another military pledge a reality, the centuries-old sacred Madhu Church, where all communities worshipped will be opened to the public soon for the annual feast. The shrine was liberated by the Security Forces from LTTE terrorists.

The sacred Madhu Shrine which was liberated from LTTE terrorists was handed over to Rev. Fr. Victor Susai, Vicar General of Mannar, who accepted it on behalf of the Bishop of Mannar yesterday.

Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka called upon those who removed the statue of Our Lady of Madhu to bring it back to the church.

"Those who were in charge of the statue have the responsibility of bringing it back", he said adding that the Madhu area would be declared as a security zone and pilgrims would be provided all facilities to worship at the shrine.

The Madhu shrine, where thousands of pilgrims gather during the August church feast was under the clutches of the LTTE from 1999. The shrine area later became a military base for the LTTE positioning its heavy guns around the church premises.

The LTTE used the shrine as a shield to avoid military offensives within the 'No War Zone' and the Army was compelled to refrain from attacking the terrorists because of the sacred shrine complex.

Lt. Gen. Fonseka said that the 57 division supported by the Light Infantry unit tactically forced the terrorists who occupied the shrine to withdraw but the fleeing terrorists damaged the roof of the main church and the adjoining hall.

According to Lt. Gen. Fonseka, the area has been heavily mined with anti personnel mines and booby traps and bunkers have been erected around the shrine. "The military will soon complete clearing the mines", he said.

Courtesy : Sunday Observer

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