Peace for over 20m people
Goal of humanitarian operation :
The world’s biggest humanitarian operation
When the LTTE terrorist operations were at their height during the
three decades of terror, none thought that the world’s most merciless
terror outfit could ever be destroyed militarily. There were enough and
more reasons for that belief as the LTTE took successive leaders of Sri
Lanka for rides in the name of peace talks.
They used the negotiating table and periods of peace talks to
reinforce and strengthen their military capability. However, all former
Presidents of Sri Lanka, from the Late J.R. Jayewardene to Chandrika
Bandaranaike, had little or no option due to tremendous international
All that the LTTE did was to show some interest on peace talks to
mislead the international community. Each time the Tigers ran short of
weapons and were in a disadvantageous position due to the Security
Forces’ operations, they opted for peace talks to halt the advancing
troops. The previous Presidents of Sri Lanka bowed down to international
pressure and fell into the LTTE’s trap.
However, it was an altogether different story after President Mahinda
Rajapaksa was elected President on November 18, 2005. LTTE leader
Velupillai Prabhakaran ‘greeted’ the new political leadership with his
usual bomb explosions. He thought he could try his dirty games with
President Rajapaksa too.
That is where Prabhakaran made the biggest blunder of his life. The
LTTE, as usual, initially showed that they are interested in holding
peace talks with the Government in early 2006. But they were not sincere
in those attempts and were trying to mislead the new leadership as well.
The LTTE thought that they could command the bargaining power at the
negotiating table at all times. After a couple of rounds at the
negotiating table, the LTTE unilaterally walked out of the peace talks
in 2006 without any valid reason whatsoever.
They not only abandoned the peace talks, but went a step further to
show their might by closing down the Mavil Aru anicut, an action that
proved too costly and ultimately led to the end of Prabhakaran and his
When the Tigers closed down the Mavil Aru anicut and deprived the
farmers in the area of their basic need of water, President Rajapaksa
did not think twice in ordering the Security Forces to begin a
humanitarian operation to liberate the area to enable the farmers to
have free access to water.
That eventually became the beginning of the world’s largest human
rescue mission as over 500,000 civilians in the North and the East were
liberated from the clutches of the LTTE terror.
The Security Forces, which began their operation from Mavil Aru, did
not look back as they had the political sagacity of President Rajapaksa
which was a tower of strength to inspire the true sons of our soil.
Though all his predecessors bowed down to international pressure and
abandoned various military operations against LTTE, President Rajapaksa
was not prepared to let down the efforts of the Security Forces. He gave
the fullest support and the much needed political leadership for the
Security Forces to accomplish that mission impossible in little over
three years. Moreover, the first-hand experience and unmatched military
strategies of Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa proved to be too much
for the Tigers who lost their grip in every area they forcibly held
until the LTTE leadership was vanquished at the Nandikadal lagoon on May
The nation will celebrate the fourth anniversary of that great
victory on Saturday (18) with the now customary Victory Day parade at
Galle Face Green and the commemorative ceremony at the Ranaviru Memorial
at Sri Jayewardenepura.
The nation would remember all those who sacrificed their lives in the
name of our motherland with profound gratitude. They perished to provide
us a secure future. It was due to their great sacrifices that we enjoy
this freedom today and live in peace with all communities.
At the time the nation celebrates that greatest victory that ushered
in peace, we would like to focus on one of the greatest atrocities
committed by the LTTE exactly 28 years ago. The LTTE proved that they
have no respect for race or religion when they brutally killed 146
devotees at the sacred city of Anuradhapura.
On May 14, 1985, the Tiger terrorists attacked the Sacred Jaya Sri
Maha Bodhi and brutally killed over 146 civilians and wounded another 85
people. Many Bhikkhus and pilgrims who were inside the Sri Maha Bodhi
premises were among the dead. On their way back from Anuradhapura, the
LTTE entered the Wilpattu Forest Reserve and shot dead another 18
Those Western forces who now shout from the rooftops on the human
rights of Tiger cadre killed in action didn’t utter a word when all Sri
Lankans were threatened by LTTE terror. Now that our Security Forces
have liberated the country, there are many godfathers of human rights to
voice strongly on behalf of the dead Tigers and question so-called acts
against humanity. Yet, they never ever saw those barbaric acts of the
LTTE as acts against mankind.
The entire nation and the Buddhist world were shocked at the news of
the barbarism displayed by the LTTE, as unarmed and innocent civilians
including the clergy, women and children were massacred. As later
revealed, the attack was masterminded by none other than the
megalomaniac terrorist leader Prabhakaran himself.
It was intended at flaming communal hatred and a spree of island-wide
mob attacks targeting innocent Tamil civilians. However, Prabhakaran
could not put his ultimate plan into action as Sri Lankans including
Buddhists responded with extreme resilience, as they once did,
safeguarding their Tamil brethren during the 1983 July mob violence.
The LTTE terrorists had snatched a public bus on that ill-fated day,
stormed the central bus stand at the Anuradhapura old town and splashed
those present there with a rain of gunfire indiscriminately. The
terrorists had opened indiscriminate gunfire at both the Uda Maluwa and
the Pahala Maluwa, killing scores of pilgrims and members of the clergy.
It is regrettable that some LTTE cohorts still try to destroy that
hard-earned peace. Even a few Western countries do not like to see the
prevailing peaceful situation in the country. Newspapers such as Udayan
published in Jaffna still try to poison the minds of the Northerners who
now live in peace with their fellow countrymen. The Editorial published
in the Udayan newspaper on April 30 was a deliberate attempt to stoke
the flames of communalism in the country once again and drive the Tamil
people towards another war.
The Udayan Editorial stated that the Government had resorted to
political deceit by killing time to hold the Northern Provincial Council
elections. It was an attempt made by the Udayan newspaper management to
further their political prospects by taking undue advantage of the
internal split in the TNA. Undoubtedly, it was an unpatriotic statement.
The Udayan appears to be jealous of the friendship and amity prevailing
between the Security Forces and the public in the North.
Battle against terrorism
As such, the newspaper was trying to fan the flames of communalism
once again to set the Tamils against the Security Forces.
What is most pathetic is the attitude of certain countries in the
West who only want to dig old wounds. They are only interested in
finding out about the final two weeks of the battle against terrorism,
not the entire 30-year period during which the LTTE had brought misery
to the lives of over 20 million people.
The West must look positively at the progress Sri Lanka has made
since terrorism was crushed four years ago. Even Asian Development Bank
(ADB) officials and SAARC ministers have recently commended Sri Lanka
for the progress made in development projects after the dawn of peace.
What baffles all peace-loving Sri Lankans is the stance of the United
States and its allies who had brought two resolutions at the United
Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in successive years.
That was purely against Sri Lanka’s battle against terrorism and only
questioning the last two weeks of the humanitarian operation.
They have no right to exert pressure on Sri Lanka, citing human
rights and the so-called allegations on acts against mankind. The US
never compromises when it comes to its national security and they have
all the right to do that.
The US has been launching regular drone attacks in Pakistan which had
killed many innocent civilians, but none of the world’s human rights
watchdogs uttered a word.
We do not challenge the US’ right to its national security. They have
every right to go that extra mile and protect American citizens. At the
same time, every sovereign nation has a right to take action against
terrorism and national security of their countries.
In conducting a military operation against the LTTE’s ruthless
terrorism, Sri Lanka too has only exercised its legitimate right as a
sovereign nation. Irrespective of its extent of military capability,
every sovereign country has a right to take legitimate action against
terrorism and protect its people.
Hence, the West must keep in mind that there can’t be a different
policy or attitude by the UNHRC when it comes to this part of the world.
Has the UNHRC chief, Navi Pillay, who has been a strong campaigner on
human rights of LTTE terrorists killed in action, ever uttered a word on
behalf of the innocent civilians killed in Pakistan due to US drone
Unless the United Nations comes out with one policy for all its
member countries, the credibility of the world body would erode soon.
The UNHRC should not use human rights as a tool to intimidate smaller
countries while turning a blind eye on gross human rights violations
carried out by the so-called big countries.
Some common words in the Western jargon such as freedom of
expression, human rights, acts against mankind and accountability have
often been used to intimidate countries such as Sri Lanka which has a
fearless foreign policy and do not dance to the melody of the West. At
the same time, these countries would allow even a small country to do
anything as far as they are under the control of countries in the West.
This is typical Western hypocrisy adopted purely to suit their agendas
and intimidate any country which does not fall in line with their
It is a pity that the UNHRC is acting like a puppet of a few Western
countries which continue to use human rights as a tool to intimidate any
country which opposes their acts. If Navi Pillay and the UNHRC were
genuinely concerned about the human rights of people across the globe,
they should wake up and order immediate investigations on US drone
attacks in other countries such as Pakistan.
Cause for alarm
US President Barack Obama’s administration recently underwent its
first UN treaty body review, and the resulting concluding observations
made public should be a cause for alarm. The observations, issued by
independent UN experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the
international treaty on the rights of children in armed conflict
(formally known as OPAC), paint a dark picture of the treatment of
juveniles by the US military in Afghanistan.
Hundreds of children have been killed in attacks and air strikes by
US military forces, and those responsible for the killings have not been
held to account even as the number of children killed doubled from 2010
to 2011, where children under 18 languish in detention facilities
without access to legal or full humanitarian assistance, or adequate
resources to aid in their recovery and reintegration as required under
international law. Some children were abused in US detention facilities,
and others are faced with the prospect of torture and ill-treatment if
they are transferred to Afghan custody.
These are the people who try to pontificate to us on human rights and
The UN must prove that it is no more a toothless tiger and take
action against those, as they regularly do when it comes to smaller
Once again, we wish to reiterate the fact that the US has every right
to defend itself and protect its people. All that we would like to
stress is that Sri Lanka, like any other sovereign nation, has a right
to protect its people and the Security Forces only exercised that right
under the Commander-in-Chief, President Rajapaksa, and liberate people
from the clutches of LTTE terror and ushered in peace to over 20 million