Friday, May 8, 2009

A journey of pledges and sacrifices….

Twenty months ago, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made a firm pledge to the nation when he addressed a passing out parade at Galkiriyagama. He assured the nation that the war would not be passed onto the future generations. Rajapaksa, a battle hardened soldier who encountered the treacherous LTTE during his military career, told the soldiers at that passing out parade that the Government had a firm determination to eliminate terrorism to establish permanent peace. Those were sincere thoughts and heart rending sentiments of the Defence Secretary made in the expression of patriotism.

In a similar notion, President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the ‘Maubima Lanka Foundation’ in the tail end of 2007 stressed the need to crush LTTE terrorism and repeatedly urged the LTTE to give up violence and return to the negotiating table to resolve issues. Unfortunately, all those calls fell on the deaf ears of Velupillai Prabakaran. Instead, Prabakaran forced the Government into another war, which he (Prabakaran) code named Eelam War VI. The Government was left with no alternative but to counter the escalating violence perpetrated by the LTTE. Prabakaran began to explode bombs in buses and carry out deadly suicide missions. Men, women and children, irrespective of race and color fell victim to those barbaric, inhuman acts.

The battle to combat Prabakaran’s horrendous acme of three decades began from Mavil-Aru in the Eastern sector when the LTTE leader closed the sluice gates thus depriving farmers of water. Government troops were mobilized to face the threat while the masses were told of the perilously brewing situation that was harmful to human existence in a civilized society. The people, with their ingenuity expressed confidence in the establishment and legitimate troops protecting the state to forge ahead to save them and the nation. To the troops, it was an uphill task of a gigantic nature. One cannot deny the fact that the LTTE which took Governments of the past for many rides were in control of one third of this small island nation. It used the 2002 ceasefire to smuggle in the most sophisticated military equipment to strengthen its fighting capabilities.

The people of Sri Lanka pinned their hopes in the political establishment and the brave troops to save them. In a well planned out military process, the valiant troops initially restored normalcy in the Eastern theatre. In a process designed to protect the lives of civilians, the troops with discipline forged ahead to the Northern theatre in a phased out manner to encounter the enemy. It was no cake walk. They were called upon to make supreme sacrifices for their country. The nation must salute those brave soldiers. They would stand as monuments of integrity when the entire country is soon freed from terrorism. They’ve faced the butchery and barbarity of the most dangerous terror outfit in the world. Yet, they continue to brave themselves to liberate this nation.

The Sri Lankan troops are a disciplined entity. They do not believe in revenge and vengeance. They have liberated thousands of Tamil civilians from the grip of the LTTE.

And, those civilians speak proud of the Sri Lankan Forces who treat them with respect and dignity. One of them liberated from the LTTE grip in Wanni praised the brave armed forces and added that they now felt the fear of tyranny was fast sinking with the LTTE made to run.

After three decades of gruesome violence, the deadly sound of mortar shells and the fearsome rhythm of suicide explosions have been silenced to a greater extent. The nation has been saved from being dragged towards the abyss of a violent conflict. The bravery of the troops and the ingenuity of the people have achieved fruitful results. For the gallant armed forces, it is certainly a journey of sacrifices and no cake walk. The Defence Secretary predicted that the war will not be passed onto our future generation. Yes… a correct evaluation of today’s situation would prove that the Defence Secretary has firmly stood to prove his prediction made twenty months ago. Something new has emerged already for the better of Sri Lanka.