Forces reach crucial stage in liberating Wanni
Determined to capture Madhu without firing single
The entire episode in the Madhu front that unfolded during this week,
were the incidents exactly expected by the ground troops operating in
the Madhu battlefront. There was no surprise about Thursday’s incident
as the LTTE is an organisation, which is ready to exploit any situation
in their favour if they are undergoing a troublesome period.
The Catholic priests at the Madhu shrine had conveyed the statue to
Vellankulam area, some 20 kilometres north of Mannar due to pressure
from the LTTE. It was explicitly clear that the Tiger outfit had no
other choice other than this move as all their plans to tarnish the
image of the Security Forces had failed.
They forced the Catholic priests to carry on street protests and to
shift the statue as they did not see any escape from the advancing
troops to capture the venerated Madhu shrine area without making any
damage to the Church and without firing a single bullet within the
The determination of the troops was to capture the area without
firing a single bullet within this sacred area. That was the clear
policy maintained throughout the past few months by the ground troops
despite facing barrages of mortar attacks by the LTTE taking cover of
the Madhu shrine area.
However, the Catholic priests including the Mannar Bishop Rayappu
Joseph was not moved by the facts that the LTTE was using this sacred
land for their military activities. It was only when they realised the
fact that the Madhu Church is about to fall into the hands of the
Security Forces they acted very fast to move the sacred statue that was
lying there for over 600 years to another Church in Vellankulam in the
north of Mannar.
Statue to uncleared area
The statue had been taken to that place after proceeding to Pallamadu
in Vidathalthivu by the Catholic priests. The question that arise here
is why these Catholic priests have taken this statue to a location in an
uncleared area if they were really concerned about the safety of the
statue and not placing it in a safer area.
Therefore it is obvious that the Catholic priests have acted in the
interest of the LTTE and not in the interest of the Catholic community
in the country.
The LTTE had few more objectives to fulfill through this act.
First they wanted to change the importance of the place. Once the
troops capture this strategic location, which is known to the entire
South and that would be the first important milestone in the Wanni
battle after the capture of Silavathurai in the South of Mannar, which
fell to the Security Forces during the latter part of last year.
Apart from this the LTTE do not want to see large crowds gather at
the Madhu Church under the protection of the Security Forces for the
forthcoming Madhu festival.
They are losing the chance of exploiting these innocent pilgrims from
the South if the statue is located in Madhu.
Secondly the LTTE is well aware that they have no chance to recapture
the area before the annual feast in Madhu, which is in August 15. By
shifting the statue to the Vellankulam area once again they can attract
people to conduct religious activities and carry out their recruitment
campaign and take the cover of a human shield created due to the arrival
of pilgrims to strengthen their positions.
Thirdly, the LTTE wants to take control of the Madhu shrine area at
least for few days prior to Security Forces capturing the area as the
truth about the Madhu shrine will automatically be exposed to the world
making a severe blow to their false media campaigns to tarnish the image
of the Security Forces.
They do not want to see the place without any damages once the troops
capture the area. That is was why the LTTE has deployed its cadres after
chasing away the Catholic priests from the Church to cause maximum
damages to the place and tarnish the image of the Security Forces.
According to sources in the Madhu battlefront, the LTTE is occupying
the Madhu Church and constructing bunkers and trenches to face the
advancing troops, which the LTTE can display to the world as a real
battleground once troops capture this sacred land.
Another objective of this LTTE move was to delay the fall of Madhu
prior to the forthcoming Provincial Council elections in the Eastern
province. They are well aware of the fact that the fall of Madhu would
create a bigger impact on the forthcoming Provincial Councils in favour
of the Government. The LTTE may face a major challenge to keep the
remaining civilians under them once Madhu is fallen to the Security
As explained in this column repeatedly during the past few weeks, the
Security Forces strongly held the opinion that the area would be taken
without causing any damages to the place.
Changed battle plan
That was the reason the LTTE changed the battle plan to cut off the
supply routes to Madhu from the North after three battalions under the
571 Brigade Commander Colonel Ravipriya was advancing to capture
Palampiddi, located some 10 Kilometres North of Madhu braving all
minefields and booby traps amidst bad weather conditions.
If the Security Forces really wanted to capture the area at any cost
as speculated by pro-LTTE media machinery they could have easily capture
the area using its maximum fire power against the LTTE by the 572
Brigade in the South of Madhu who had advanced along the
Piramanalankulam, Madhu road to reach the target.
After the capture of villages of Thampanai, Periyapandivirichchan and
Sinnapandivirichchan the Forces could have easily made a major assault
on the Tiger positions in Madhu and could have swiftly taken control
over the area flushing out the Tiger cadres.
Most difficult path
The Security Forces adopted the most difficult path in capturing the
area in accordance with the policy maintained by the Government.
Even at this moment troops are at the doorstep of the Madhu Church
while there is no hesitation on the part of the Security Forces to
launch a major assault.
However Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka, who visited Wanni
Security Forces Headquarters on Friday, ruled out a military plan by
ground commanders to capture Madhu Church by launching a major assault
on the area from the South of Madhu due to the sensitivity of the issue.
Things are now going on smoothly to capture Madhu despite the
malicious propaganda by the LTTE.
The main focus of the troops is to cut off all supply routes to the
Madhu Church until the LTTE withdraws from the Madhu shrine area. So the
troops operating in the North of Madhu will be entrusted with a major
task of cutting off the supplies to the LTTE cadres operating in the
Madhu shrine since it has been completely cut off from the South.
With the current deployment of the troops the area is almost under
the control of the Security Forces as troops are operating just 800
metres away from the Madhu Church.
Troops without any doubt will be able to overcome all the obstacles
set by the LTTE to prevent their advance into the area without going for
a head on clash with the LTTE.
Therefore, the country can witness a crucial step forward in the
Security Forces attempt to liberate Wanni in the coming weeks at a time
when the country is going to celebrate the New Year festival.
But this will not be the single challenge before the LTTE in the
coming weeks. They will have to face multiple challenges with a majority
of the Tamil community raising its voice against them in the Wanni and
scores of LTTE cadres and civilians fleeing from Wanni surrendering to
the Security Forces.
The events unfolding in Jaffna and also in the Wanni area is an eye
opener for the international community who are making failed attempts to
take the Security Forces and the Government to task by levelling
allegations on human rights issues.
The surprising factor is that the international community is not
considering these facts when they are making judgments on the Human
Rights situation in the country. It is blind of the fact that all these
civilians fleeing the LTTE held Wanni seeking refuge in Government held
areas as they feel that their Human Rights are violated in uncleared
These innocent civilians firmly believe in the fact that their
children will be given protection by the Security Forces than by the
The factor that has to be highlighted is that even LTTE cadres who
deserted the organisation are keeping high faith in the Security Forces
than the so-called Non Government Organisations appearing on behalf of
The 48 LTTE cadres that surrendered to the Security Forces in Jaffna
was a classic example to demonstrate the level of faith kept by the
Tamil civilians in the Security Forces, when they surrendered to the
Army. Many of these youth have admitted the fact that they had been
active members of the LTTE and wanted to surrender to the Army to
protect their lives from the LTTE and to lead a better life free from
The fact that remain here is though the Tamil civilians wants to lead
a better life in the society, the LTTE has become a stumbling block in
But the LTTE will not be able to block the desire of the Tamil
civilians further as they are about to be free from the Tiger clutches
in the Wanni like the way the civilian population in the East was
liberated from the LTTE.
With the completion of the filing of nominations for the May 10
Provincial Council elections, a new chapter will turn into the Eastern
people as they get the right to administer the province, electing their
own representatives to the Eastern provincial council.
The LTTE is strongly opposing the conduct of the elections in the
East. It is obvious that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran cannot make
his mind and enter the path of democracy though he wishes to do it due
to his personality problems and enter the fray for the PC elections in
But he has even prevented the Tiger-proxy Tamil National Alliance
from contesting the PC polls in the East.
It was because the people are aware that the defeat of the TNA will
also reflect the people’s opposition to the LTTE. The very reason for
their decision to boycott the elections was obvious.
The Tiger leader does not want to see that they are being defeated
twice in the Eastern province — once militarily and next politically.
They cannot of course tolerate such defeats within a democratic process.
The sole intention of the LTTE is to tell the international community
that the Tamil people are not within the democratic process in the
But that wish was badly rejected by the Tamil community in the
Batticaloa district with their enthusiastic participation at the Local
Polls held in Batticaloa.
So the Tiger proxies or any other political party representing and
endorsing the view of the LTTE no longer maintain the idea that the
people in the East are rejecting the democratic process in the country.
Contrary to this people in the East have embraced the democratic path
with their strong desire to distance from the violence from which they
suffered for more than two and half decades.
With this positive trend among the Tamil community, the Tiger leader
has to launch a major battle to turn the tide against the LTTE and keep
the Tamil community under his fold. Therefore he will activate all his
machineries, both political and terror, to make the Provincial Council
elections for the Eastern province a non-event.
But the entire South should stand firmly behind this democratic
process to defeat the LTTE efforts if they really want to see an end to
the problem while strengthening the hands of the Security Forces in
their efforts to liberate the Wanni completely flushing out terrorism
from the country.