Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Let’s safeguard our indomitable victory over LTTE terrorism

  • Written by  ThPatali Champika Ranawaka
  • Sunday, 20 May 2012 00:00

The date was May 19, 2009. On this day, addressing Parliament and the nation, President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced that every inch of this Island was now free of terrorism and that all Tamil civilians used by the terrorists as human shields had been rescued unharmed. The entire country erupted in euphoria. Lion flags were fluttering everywhere.
A professor of medicine I knew later told me that on the day, he was so euphoric that he drove all around Colombo with his son waving the national flag. He told me it was the happiest day of his life. This was because all too often in the course of his medical career, he had seen the mangled remains of those who had become victims of terrorist bombings in the city. It was the happiest day of his life as he was certain that he would never see such scenes again.
Everyone flocked under the national flag that day, irrespective of all differences. However, a top level businessman I knew later told me that when he spoke of the war victory with one of the opposition’s highest ranking members, his response was to “wait till the euphoria is over”. That in itself tells us that beneath the outward expressions of joy exhibited by some of those in the opposition were feelings of hatred and jealousy. It also foretold the dangers that would come from abroad in the near future.
Later that same day however, I received an SMS telling me that “Prabhakaran was alive and was safe”. This was according to the LTTE’s spokesperson K.P. This news unnerved me. I was initially told that Prabhakaran and his family were in Vellamullivaikkal. He may have decided to stay there hoping that he would be saved at the last moment by international intervention, and his fear that his units would surrender once they learnt that he had fled.
 Over the years, the LTTE leader was able to escape our security forces on numerous occasions due to the intervention of India and the West, and also due to the so-called ‘ceasefires’ agreed to by some of our more cowardly leaders. But on this occasion, the Sri Lankan government resisted all efforts to enter into such a ceasefire, despite pressure from the likes of Miliband, Karunanidhi and Ban-Ki-Moon himself.
 I was at a loss to understand how Prabhakaran could have gotten away this time, when our navy had laid down such a massive naval cordon along the Vanni coast and he had been surrounded by some 30, 000 of our troops. I wondered whether justice would ever find Prabhakaran and whether terrorism would continue to survive. The euphoria felt over the past several days started to die down. I finally managed to get through to a senior military official in the field. He gave me the most precious piece of news I’ve ever received in my life. He confirmed that Prabhakaran’s body had been found in the Nanthikadal lagoon. We flocked in front of the television and were able to see his body with our own eyes. At that moment, we really did feel genuinely euphoric. This was not because of his death, but because of the realization that tens of thousands of lives will be saved now that he was gone.
By the time of his death, Prabhakaran had caused the deaths of around 23, 000 of our armed forces personnel and 9798 civilians. His victims included 43 Buddhist monks, a President, and an opposition leader. He had let sacred sites such as the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and the Dalada Maligawa run with blood. In addition, around 30, 000 LTTE cadres, who Prabhakaran had brainwashed with his racism, had also been killed in the war, along with around 6000 Tamil civilians. The displaced numbered in the tens of thousands. While one cannot give a definite figure, the loss to property amounted to billions. Prabhakaran’s body gave us the confidence that such destruction would never take place again. This was what made us so euphoric.
When Chandrika tried to surrender the country to terrorism, it was us who along with the National Sangha Council, and the National Movement against Terrorism, helped launch a new national movement. We went to court to obtain justice against terrorism. It was us who turned the 2005 Presidential election into a referendum regarding the unitary status of this nation. We also helped fire the first shot of the humanitarian operations when we took on Prabhakaran’s attempt to take over the Mawilaru anicut. It was only natural that we felt happy, now that the difficult part was over.
Unfortunately, many among us have forgotten, or have distorted some very important events that took places towards the end of the war. One such incident involves accusations that terrorists tried to surrender by waving while flags.  The LTTE had two chief contacts with the outside world at this stage. One was the international diplomatic network built by K.P., who assumed power after the death of Balasingham. This network stretches from the UN headquarters in New York to London, Delhi, Chennai, and beyond. The second contact was journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed recently in Syria. Pulithevan was in contact with her throughout the final conflict, and even communicated with her via MMS over the phone. It was through these two contacts that we obtained information, which claimed that Prabhakaran was alive and safe. It was also from these two contacts that LTTE members all over the world obtained their information. This was why so many LTTE cadres and activists refused to believe that Prabhakaran, their ‘Sun God’, was dead. 
Whilst trapped in Puthumathalan, with the military closing in on him from all sides, Prabhakaran kept hoping for a BJP government to come to power in India. But with the Congress Party once again coming to power on May 10 this hope was also lost to him. The final attempt to rescue him involved bringing down UN General Secretary Ban-Ki-Moon to Mullaitivu and for 47 senior members of the LTTE leadership including Prabhakaran to hand themselves over to US Marines after letting all Tamil civilians leave.
This plan was supposed to take effect on May 15, but this too fell through. Thereafter, a plan was devised to break out using ‘white flags’ as a tactic. A section was supposed to neutralize the 58th division by deceiving its troops by waving white flags. Civilians were to be driven en-masse towards the frontlines of the 59th division in Vadduwal, neutralizing it. While all this was happening, what remained of the LTTE units would throw themselves with all their firepower at troops of the 57th division, breaking through their lines and fleeing into the jungles by way of the Nandikadal lagoon.
However, these plans ended in disaster, with the entire Tiger leadership including Prabhakaran, Pottu Amman, and Soosai being decimated. Over 10, 000 terrorists surrendered to the military, bringing to an end the cyanide culture popularized by the Tiger leadership. Over 300, 000 Tamil civilians kept as human shields were rescued, taken to Settikulam, and subsequently resettled in stages. This is the real story behind the humanitarian operation. We must not let any person, organization, or country discredit this great victory.

- Ceylon Today