Media attempts to sign 'death warrants' fail:
Casualties are the same be it Lanka or Iraq
There had been several attempts over the week to issue death
certificates of soldiers who are still alive through many media reports
in the aftermath of the Muhamalai limited operation by the Security
Forces to destabilise the Forward Defences of the LTTE in the Jaffna
Once again there had been attempts to highlight the Muhamalai
incident as yet another debacle exactly like in October last year.
The casualty figures and the number of deaths have been taken as the
basis to highlight it as a major setback to the Security Forces. But
there had been no mention about the heavy damages inflicted on the LTTE
especially to the first line of the LTTE.
It is a fundamental right of the media to expose the correct picture
about the operation, but, they have no right to give death certificates
for soldiers alive, giving false figures about the number of soldiers
killed in the operation and speculating on the number.
It is the legitimate right of the Sri Lanka Army to declare the
number of deaths and the number of casualties in the operation as they
are directly responsible for each and every person under their payroll.
If someone thinks that the Government is trying to cover up the
number of deaths and casualties in this limited operation, they have
been sadly mistaken, since there is no possibility on the part of the
Security Forces to hide the number of funerals taking place in the
country, as each and every soldier sacrifices his life for the
motherland who is accorded military honours at the funerals.
The so-called politicians who were initiating suspicions among the
public by spreading wild rumours, thus raising doubts about the casualty
figures can easily count the number of funerals as they are the
so-called funeral orators at each and every funeral in their respective
There is no doubt they are raising these doubts as they are not in a
position to attend at least the funerals of these heroic soldiers when
their conscience do not allow them to do so because of their attempts to
belittle the victories achieved by the Security Forces in the East.
They know that they have already earned the wrath of the heroic
soldiers and been distanced from them due to the statements they had
made publicly belittling and humiliating the achievements made by the
Security Forces risking their lives for their motherland.
The same applies to journalists who were vociferous in their
criticism against the Security Forces' attempt to liberate the civilian
population from the clutches of the LTTE in the Eastern theatre.
They are speculating the figures about the number of deaths and the
casualty figures since they are reluctant to accept the figures
officially issued by the Sri Lanka Army.
Although they tend to speculate the figures, without any verification
from relevant authorities, they never dare to come out with the relevant
details. Therefore there is no basis for the public to accept their
account of the story.
Despite the fact that Sri Lanka Army had announced that only eleven
soldiers were killed during this limited operation - six in the
battlefront and five after admission to hospitals, they were reluctant
to accept the figures.
The basis for their doubts is the false media campaign carried out by
the pro-LTTE media about this limited operation and their deeply rooted
attitude that all these military operations were meant to score marks
for politicians. The ultimate result due to their prejudice over these
military operations was that they too will become campaigners for the
LTTE, willingly or unwillingly.
The politicians who were vociferous in their criticism about these
military operations tend to speculate these figures about deaths and the
casualties also exposed their political hypocrisy, fearing the
Government would take political mileage out of these operations as they
were well aware that troops were now in the path of success which had
never been witnessed during their tenure.
So they try to highlight this limited operation as an operation to
fulfill a political requirement of the Government giving the number of
But they failed to understand that no battle could be conducted with
zero casualties on the Forces side and there is a big national
requirement to defeat LTTE terrorism. That requirement has to be filled
despite the fact that politicians are scoring out of these military
That is the responsibility lies with the Security Forces and their
duty towards their motherland.
In the same manner they should understand that the same politicians,
whether it is President Mahinda Rajapaksa, any other Government
politician or an official should also bear the consequences of any
failures on the part of the military in their endeavours to take
political mileage out of military operations, since they cannot always
expect military victories against the LTTE which is known to be the most
dangerous terror outfit in the world.
Therefore, they try to profess through the media that military should
not make any attempt to conduct offensive military operations against
the LTTE in Muhamalai and they should stick to a defensive role in this
decisive ground-taking operation earlier military operations as examples
where large number of casualties were reported on the part of the
It was true that 62 soldiers sustained injuries during this limited
operation. This includes 45 soldiers who were in the P1 and P2 category.
Out of the P1 category casualties which stand at 18 a number of soldiers
have lost their limbs as they cross mine fields of the LTTE, which is a
normal situation in a battle of this nature, where Security Forces
inflict heavy damages to the LTTE by destroying their first Defence Line
stretching over 5 Kilometres in the Muhamalai sector.
If someone expect to take the LTTE defence by surprise in the
Muhamalai sector with zero casualty rate on the part of the Security
Forces it would be daydream.
If Security Forces play only defensive role in this sector the LTTE
would definitely take the advantage out of this situation as they did
during the period the Government and the LTTE engaged in peace
The same critics of course would blame the Security Forces for not
taking adequate steps to destroy the Tiger defences, if LTTE overrun the
Security Forces defences in their bid to capture Jaffna which is major
target of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran especially in the month
of November in which they very proudly celebrate his birthday and
commemorate their dead cadres.
On the other hand the number of casualties cannot be avoided in this
battle ground, as the troops are subjected to indirect fire of the Tiger
guns located somewhere in the South of Muhamalai.
The Security Forces have to face this situation until they neutralize
these heavy artillery and mortars located in the Tiger held areas in the
It was after the neutralizing the heavy guns in the Eastern theatre,
the Security Forces were able to have a free walk in the Eastern
theatre. Security Forces have reliable information that 80, 120 mm heavy
mortar launchers, 20, 122 mm artillery guns and eight 152 mm heavy
artillery guns had been acquired by the LTTE during the period after
signing the Ceasefire Agreement.
Therefore, troops engaged in a battle against the LTTE terror will
definitely have to face the consequences of the short sighted acts of
these politicians who had put the lives of the soldiers in peril during
these decisive battles.
The troops deployed along the Muhamalai defence lines have been
entrusted with the task of neutralizing the Tiger threat on the cleared
So they need to keep on destabilizing the LTTE defences in view of
their security and also of the civilian population living there in the
By destroying the Tiger bunkers in their first defence line the
troops were able to neutralize a major threat on the Security Forces.
The same critics who see this as a setback for the Security Forces has
also forgotten the fact that the Security Forces are now in control of
the original FDL held by the LTTE a year ago. That too achieved by the
Security Forces with several casualties.
The other factor that has to be highlighted is that all these
criticism are levelled against the Security Forces and the defence
authorities at a time when the Security Forces are launching a major
thrust on the LTTE defences in the Wanni. Therefore, there is no basis
on the allegation that this limited operation was launched targeting the
budget speech of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
If the Defence authorities are keen on such requirement they would
have selected a location that can be easily captured flushing out the
And the allegation that the Security Forces launched this operation
with the intention of having a free walk towards Kilinochchi has also
become invalid from their own arguments that the operation was hastily
planned to gain political mileage.
According to the highest defence authorities though the operation was
planned as a limited operation to destabilise the Tiger defences, the
field commanders depending on the situation decided to hold the Tiger
defence line for few hours to inflict more damages to Tiger defences.
But there was no intention to continue the operation for a long
period. Therefore, the retreat of the troops was not unexpected as
professed by some media, highlighting as a victory of the LTTE.
Though the situation was completely normal for the Security Forces,
those who are working according to agendas of political parties are
making attempts to highlight these situations as major debacles as they
are doing their best to give political flavour to these military
Even the Southern security situation, which has been affected due to
Tiger attack on the Army detachment in Thalgasmanakada and the
subsequent killings in Ranminitenna have also come at a time when
Security Forces pushing back the LTTE into their Wanni bases taking the
Security Forces defences in the West of Vavuniya more than 10 kilometres
ahead of their original defences.
But, there is no attempt by this section of media to see them as set
backs on the part of the LTTE. Therefore, their attempts very clearly
expose their hypocrisy and the agendas they are working towards.
Army Chief condemns media attempts
Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka in an interview with this
columnist condemned the attempts by certain media purportedly
representing the national interests through the names of their
newspapers and politicians for glorifying the Muhamalai incident as a
major victory of the LTTE against the Security Forces.
"It is sad to observe that some media experts see this as a major
debacle on the part of the Security Forces", the Commander added.
These armchair critics exhibit their ignorance; by showing the
casualty figure on the part of the Security Forces to highlight the
Muhamalai incident as a major setback to the Security Forces without
considering the amount of damage caused to the LTTE.
"They are unaware of the fact that no battle can be won without
sustaining casualties. That is a part of war whether the battles are
fought in Sri Lanka or Iraq", he said.
He says that even the elite US Forces deployed in Iraq sustain
injuries and losing their limbs when engage in military operation. The
same situation is applicable to our battles also.
He also blamed the politicians who were critical of the limited
military operation conducted in Muhamalai speculating number of deaths
on the part of the Security Forces without understanding the ground
"If they cannot believe the figures given by us we can facilitate
them to go to the battle front providing them with body armour and a
helmet to count the number of casualties.
But for that they have to go to the battle front", the Army Commander
added. He also said that the limited operation conducted in Muhamalai
was a part of the overall security plan of the Sri Lanka Army to weaken
the LTTE militarily but not a operation hastily planned to fulfill
"We have deployed our soldiers in Muhamalai not to enjoy there but to
confront with the LTTE and destroy them militarily. In these endeavours
we have to face such situations. But this is not at all a setback for
the Security Forces but a big achievement", the Commander added.
"If someone think we can win this war without any casualty they must
be unrealistic in their thinking", he said.