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Sunday, 15 May 2011





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ON THE TRAIL OF VICTORY - Sunday Observer pays tribute to the Security Forces on Second Anniversary

Second Anniversary of vanquishing terrorism:

Country reaps peace dividends

The Sanguipiddy bridge

Many politicians, defence officials, war experts and even the service commanders in the past thought that Sri Lanka could never get rid of terrorism. Successive Presidents since J.R. Jayewardene tried virtually all their might to crush terrorism without much success.

There had been many rounds of peace talks but all what the LTTE, the world's most ruthless terrorist organisation, did was to take successive Presidents and Governments for a good ride. The LTTE made use of the negotiation periods or ceasefire intervals to regroup and strengthen their military capabilities in the name of peace.

Leaders such as R. Premadasa and Ranil Wickremesinghe, who preferred peace at any cost, danced to the tune of the Tiger terrorists and granted almost anything and everything the LTTE wanted during the rounds of peace talks. But all what Velupillai Prabhakaran knew was gun culture and continued to keep faith on bullet, even at the expense of his own community.

The Sri Lanka Army produced some of the greatest Generals of the calibre of General Denzil Kobbekaduwa. However, none of them could vanquish the LTTE leadership and destroy it as the Heads of State during those times succumbed to international pressure on every occasion our Security Forces made headway.

Sri Lanka eventually found the right political leadership that was solely needed to defeat the most ruthless terrorist outfit when a fearless leader with a far-sighted vision was elected to change the country's destiny. From the time President Rajapaksa was elected as the First Citizen on November 18, 2005, he made every endeavour to protect the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Unlike earlier leaders, President Rajapaksa is not prepared to compromise anything that devalues the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Despite mounting pressure from certain countries and influential international organisations, the President stood his ground, and did not allow any country or organisation to underestimate the sovereignty of a legal State. It was the indomitable courage of our Security Forces and the fearless political leadership of the President that helped demolish the LTTE's dream of a separate state. The inspiring leadership of President Rajapaksa was undoubtedly the most vital prop in Sri Lanka's history to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

More importantly, there was the perfect match in the Defence Ministry in Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. His vast knowledge and experience as a senior officer in the Sri Lanka Army was a distinct advantage and provided the ideal combination to the political leadership of President Rajapaksa.

When President Rajapaksa first assumed office in 2005, the LTTE never allowed him to settle down and resorted to a series of terror acts. But the President went that extra mile in the name of peace. When the LTTE closed the Mavil Aru and deprived innocent civilians the basic need of water, the President decided that enough is enough.

The initial mission of the Security Forces was to overpower Tigers at Mavil Aru and provide water to the farmer community there. But that initial victory paved way to the ultimate crushing of the LTTE at Nandikadal lagoon in a three years' time.

Exactly two years ago, Sri Lanka created history by becoming the first country to eradicate terrorism. Only a handful of people were confident that Sri Lanka could achieve that Herculean task which at one stage looked almost impossible. Thus, only a few people were certain that Sri Lanka could put a permanent end to terrorism and liberate the country from the clutches of LTTE terror.

Sri Lanka reached that golden milestone in world military history on May 18, 2009, thus ending those untold hardships experienced by innocent civilians in the North and the East. Those great victories by the Security Forces have given a new lease of life for the people living in the North and the East, paving way for a rapid development in the two provinces.

Many mega projects have been implemented during the past couple of years to benefit those rescued Tamil civilians, especially to build the confidence of the Tamil youth who had only witnessed stark LTTE terror. The Tigers brainwashed Tamil youth to show the world that the Sinhalese were their sworn enemy. The youth in the North and the East should be enlightened to prove the goodwill and amity that prevailed among the three main communities before the LTTE sowed the seeds of ruthless terrorism on our soil.

Sri Lanka has a rich tradition of having repudiated even the most ruthless invaders thousands of years ago by defeating them and saving the motherland. It is home to people with a traditional history of bravely confronting invaders from the time of King Dutugemunu.

Sri Lanka by no means can afford to lose what was won at such great sacrifice to be divided or even a shadow of separatism to fall on it.

As the nation celebrates the Second Anniversary of the greatest victory of victories and salutes the Security Forces for a stupendous task well done, we too must also acknowledge our warm gratitude to the friendly countries which supported us in the battle against terrorism. Had it not been for their wholehearted support, Sri Lanka would perhaps never have become the first country to eradicate terrorism.

These sincere friends in the international community acted with the greatest responsibility towards Sri Lanka's freedom and sovereignty. Now it is time for reconciliation by linking the North and the South with an unshakeable bridge of friendship. We must sink petty differences and join hands and work in the true spirit to rebuild the nation.

Infrastructure development in the North and the East has been going on apace and the people in those areas too have started making a laudable contribution to build the national economy.

The dividends of the eradication of terror are already visible with significant developments in the tourism industry. Business is thriving in the cultivation, fishing and the dairy sectors, ensuring a steady and regular cash flow to the two provinces.

With gratitude and affection, we salute all those brave sons of our soil who had made the supreme sacrifice to unite the nation and liberate those innocent Tamil civilians who underwent untold agony during the ruthless LTTE terror. Those illustrious sons of Mother Lanka sacrificed their life and limb to make our future brighter. We also remember at this point of time, the thousands of Security Forces personnel who were injured during the three-and-a-half-year 'Humanitarian Operation'. The brave soldiers had not only made the most precious contribution to uphold the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Motherland, but had also ensured a safe future for over 600,000 innocent civilians who had been forcibly held by the LTTE terror outfit.

Sri Lanka, which has been looked upon as a symbol of courage to the world, is gradually rising from the ashes. We must make a bold and determined effort to build the nation, in keeping with the rich culture and heritage as the country is blessed with an abundance of natural resources.

It is the duty and the responsibility of the international community and organisations such as the United Nations to support Sri Lanka further in the reconciliation and nation building process.

They should not get carried away by sinister campaigns of a section of Tamil Diaspora which is making a desperate attempt to level war crime charges.

If the international community and international organisations are sincerely interested about the wellbeing of the people in the North and the East, especially Tamils, they must make an active contribution in the Government's efforts to rebuilt what had been destroyed by the merciless Tigers.


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