Tiruchirapalli/New Delhi: Sri Lankan pilgrims were targeted for the second day on Tuesday with three buses carrying them to the Tiruchirapalli airport attacked by activists of Tamil outfits.

Sticks and stones were hurled by the activists near Kattur at three of the seven buses carrying 178 pilgrims on their way to fly back home, leaving three with bruises as they rushed out of the vehicles, police said.

The group earlier faced the ire of Tamil outfits in the morning at the Christian shrine at Velankanni when they tried to block their vehicles while returning after prayers.

The Lankan nationals were meted out a similar treatment at their pilgrimage to Poondi Madha Christian shrine near Thanjavur on Monday.

"Sinhalese go back" shouted the protesters as one of the tyres of a bus got punctured and had to stop, bringing the convoy to a halt. The protesters then attacked three buses and used two wheelers to block the road, police said.

"We get reports that some people follow the pilgrims group, intimidate, abuse and even attack them with stones," Sri Lanka Deputy High Commissioner R K M A Rajakaruna told PTI in Chennai.

The Sri Lankan government evaluated the situation as the people "appealed to us to arrange to send them back to Sri Lanka," he said. We thought it would be advisable to arrange their quick eviction from here," the envoy said.

In New Delhi, an External Affairs Ministry spokesman said India would take all measures to ensure safety and security of Sri Lankans in the country.

"I wish to convey here that the Government of India, in close consultation with the concerned state governments, has taken and will continue to take all measures to ensure the safety, security and well-being of Sri Lankan dignitaries and visitors to India, including to Tamil Nadu," he said.

"From childhood, we have been speaking Tamil. For the past 15 years, we have been visiting this place. We are very sad..." said one of the pilgrims.


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