By Ananth Palakidnar
Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, at a special meeting with Mannar Bishop, Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, has agreed to expedite the resettlement of fisher folk in Mullikulam in the Mannar District.
The special meeting between the Mannar Bishop and the Defence Secretary was held at the Defence Secretary’s office in Colombo on Wednesday (5).
Bishop Joseph told Ceylon Today, the Naval presence in Mullikulam was not yet removed. and the fisher folk numbering 232 families from the area still live in different locations without proper access to fishing areas.
“Since the Defence Secretary is very much aware of the Mullikulam issue I requested him to expedite the process to resettle the fisher folk in their original places and to remove the Naval installation from the area. The Defence Secretary agreed to expedite the process and to make all arrangements for them to live peacefully in the area,” the Mannar Bishop said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the arrangements over the Pope’s visit to Mannar, Bishop Joseph said three Papal representatives from Vatican arrived in Colombo on 3 November and an extensive discussion was held with them over the overall arrangements with regard to the Pope’s visit to Mannar.
“Cardinal Rt. Rev. Malcolm Ranjith and several senior Defence officials, along with Bishops from various parts of the country, participated at the meeting. The Pope’s visit is confirmed and he will arrive in Colombo on 13 January 2015. On the next day, 14 January, at 2:15 p.m. the Pope will arrive at the Madhu Church in Mannar and there he is expected to bless over 200,000 devotes from the Northern Province. A special section will also be created within the Madhu Church for the war victims to get blessed by the Holy Father,” the Mannar Bishop said.