Action to fly back Dambadiva pilgrims | Daily News


Action to fly back Dambadiva pilgrims

Authorities have moved in swiftly to bring back pilgrims visiting Dambadiva as per President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s instructions.

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai, in consultation with the Foreign Relations and the Buddha Sasana Ministry, are effectively coordinating and facilitating the arrangements for the early return of Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims currently in India. These measures come in the wake of the travel and other restrictions that have arisen due to the rapidly spreading Covid-19.

There are around 1200 pilgrims belonging to 22 tour groups currently in India.

These pilgrims had arrived in India before the Government suspended Dambadiva pilgrimages on March 9, 2020. However, these numbers, secured by contacting Sri Lankan Buddhist temples in India and tour groups themselves, may have some duplication in certain instances, given that some tour groups are on the move.

The Sri Lanka Diplomatic Missions are closely in touch with Sri Lankan monks at the Buddhist pilgrimage sites in North India and the tour groups themselves.

The tour groups have been requested to expedite their return travel arrangements in view of the evolving situation.

Most of these pilgrims are scheduled to return through New Delhi and Chennai in the coming few days. The Missions are facilitating their return travel including through discussions with the relevant airlines, with a view to rescheduling of tickets.

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