The Ministries of Foreign Relations and Buddha Sasana, are effectively coordinating and facilitating the arrangements for the early return of approximately 1200 Sri Lankan Buddhist Pilgrims currently in India.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations said the two Ministries are working in consultation with the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai.
These measures come in the wake of the travel and other restrictions that have arisen due to the rapidly spreading Covid-19, it said.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations said according to the information gathered by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in New Delhi and the Deputy High Commission of Sri Lanka in Chennai, there are approximately 1200 Sri Lankan Buddhist pilgrims belonging to 22 tour groups currently in India.
It said these pilgrims had arrived in India before the Government of Sri Lanka suspended Dambadiva pilgrimages on 09 March 2020, but 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 the Sri Lankan Buddhist 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 and the Missions are facilitating their return travel including through discussions with the relevant airlines, with a view to rescheduling of tickets, the Ministry added. (Colombo Gazette)