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Diaspora violence, Indian polls last hope for sinking Tigers

The 24 hour humanitarian pause offered by President Mahinda Rajapaksa for the LTTE to allow the civilians taken hostage by them to enter cleared areas ended on Tuesday midnight without any sign that the LTTE is heeding to any pressure by the international community to get these innocent Tamil civilians out of the Tiger grip.

Not only had they kept those innocent civilians under their detention but also continue to harass them and shoot at them at each and every attempt they made to flee from the Tiger grip. Though thousands were ready to flee the Tiger grip on Monday they were stopped by the Tiger cadres at their guard points facing the Nanthikadal lagoon.

The Security Forces made tireless attempts using loudspeakers to convey the message to the civilians to use this chance to flee from the Tiger grip but it became futile as Tiger guns pointed at the heads of these civilians.

Military operations

Although Security Forces held up their military operations the LTTE continued to use their tanks, 12.7 mm heavy weapons, 30 mm canon and their snipers to target the Security Forces manning the Forward defences closer to the No Fire Zone.


 A view of the No Fire Zone from the Security Forces defences in Ampalavanpokkanai. Picture by Rukmal Gamage

Some of the soldiers sustained injuries due to Tiger fire but did not fire a single shot in the firing direction.

So, the LTTE for the second time breached the confidence, the international community placed in them, by not allowing the civilians to escape from the conflict zone.

On the first occasion in January this year when the Government offered a 48 hours humanitarian pause, the LTTE not only stopped the civilians fleeing the Tiger held area but also responded to it by launching a massive counter attack on the Security Forces operating in the South of Puthukudiyiruppu, which was later foiled by the Security Forces.

Though Government was aware that the LTTE is not willing to allow these civilians to flee from the Tiger grip, it offered this 48 hours humanitarian pause as gesture of goodwill towards the civilians trapped inside the No Fire Zone in view of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year celebrations.

However, it was yet another example proving that the LTTE, even at the last moment is not willing to give up their terror tactics and continue to keep these innocent civilians as hostages as long as Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran remain inside the No Fire Zone.

The Tiger leader does not believe in any other weapon to protect but the human shield as the most guaranteed weapon against the Security Forces. Therefore, it is inevitable that Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran would use this human shield effectively to protect his life and also to achieve all his sinister aims.

Therefore, it is inevitable for the Security Forces to go ahead with their military plans to rescue the civilians trapped inside the No Fire Zone.

Challenging task

For this, three offensive Divisions, 53 Division under the command of Major General Kamal Gunaratne, 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva and 55 Division under the command of Brigadier Prasanna Silva are preparing to achieve this task which has become the most challenging task before the Sri Lanka Army in the two and half decades long history of the North and East conflict.

After the 48 hours pause in firing lapsed the Security Forces once again began their operations to detect and destroy the Tiger positions from which the LTTE is firing at the Security Forces.

The Commanding Officers of each Division ready to enter into this final battle to rescue the civilians were busy convincing the Brigade Commanders and the Battalion Commanders about the seriousness of the task they are to achieve.

The 58 Division under the command of Brigadier Shavendra Silva has already completed its mission of capturing the land stretch between Puthukudiyiruppu and the No Fire Zone as of April 9, with the 10 Sri Lanka Light Infantry battalion under command of its second in command Major Shantha Bandara capturing the last terrain that leads to the Ampalavanpokkanai area in the No Fire Zone after crossing the Nanthikadal lagoon.

Weather conditions

The troops attached to the 10 SLLI completed their mission amid bad weather conditions and crossing the mud filled Nanthikadal lagoon.

Company Commanders Captain Kumarasiri Liyanage, Captain Kumar Abeynanda and Captain Lasantha Illeperuma commanded their troops to achieve this task in a surprise move and establish their defences closer to the edges of the No Fire Zone with the capture of the Tiger earth bunds.

This correspondent who visited the last point manned by the Security Forces before the No Fire Zone in Ampalavanpokkanai, observed that each and every soldier operating at the edge of the No Fire Zone have properly understood their responsibility they are going to shoulder very soon.

They can now monitor the movements of the civilians trapped inside the No Fire Zone and the way the LTTE is getting up its defences.

A high degree of discipline and patience is maintained by these troops manning the defenses whilst operating just 100 to 200 meters away from the edge of the No Fire Zone. Despite, observing Tiger movements they have to keep their weapons still as reacting to those observations might ended up in chaos inside the No Fire Zone causing a massive number of civilian deaths.

Meanwhile, the 53 Division troops under the command of Major General Kamal Gunaratne too are making their way through the terrain between Puthukudiyiruppu and the No Fire Zone to reach the edge of the No Fire Zone across the Nanthikadal lagoon.

Whilst the Security Forces are making this disciplined and patient march to rescue an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 civilians trapped inside, the LTTE is trying its best to exert huge pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to stop its military thrust into the No Fire Zone.

Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran still believes that there would be a miracle to save his life even at the last moment before he breathes his last. It is obvious that they will make every effort to drag this situation until the Indian General Elections which began yesterday, is over as the LTTE issue would be one of the key factors that will surface if major political parties failed to obtain a majority of seats to form a stable Government.

Tamil Nadu based political parties backing the LTTE can influence Indian politics to interfere into the Sri Lankan situation directly, if they are to support any major political party to form a coalition Government.

Indian politics

Therefore, it is incumbent on the Security Forces to rescue the civilians before this becomes a crucial issue in Indian politics after the General elections and without allowing the LTTE to play with the lives of the innocent Tamil civilians.

However, there is huge resistance from the Indian public towards any Indian involvement to safeguard the LTTE at a time the organization is breathing its' last. They wish to see Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman killed if they want to see an end to LTTE terrorism.

Many are of the opinion that if Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran survives that would be the beginning of international terrorism by the LTTE as it has already created a base for this through its international terror network.

LTTE supporters across the globe are now preparing to inject oxygen to the dying LTTE by engaging in massive demonstrations urging respective Governments to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to stop the military thrust on the last pocket held by the LTTE along with the civilians.

Massive demonstrations were held in London, Toronto and Oslo where LTTE terror networks are active. It was on April 12, the LTTE terror network operating Oslo attacked the Sri Lanka Mission there and caused extensive damages to the Embassy building and its property.

An LTTE terror gang of more than 20 stormed the Sri Lankan Embassy building and damaged the floor, computers and other equipment inside the Embassy. The Government blamed the Norwegian Government for not providing enough security for the Sri Lankan Mission in Oslo.

Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, expressed Sri Lankan Government's concern about the damages caused to the Sri Lankan Embassy property and the displeasure at the Norwegian Government's failure to provide enough security for the mission building according to the international conventions on diplomatic missions.

On one hand the sovereignty of the Sri Lanka has been challenged by this act as it had not been provided with enough security according to international law. The Foreign Ministry also has observed that there is delay in conducting investigations into the matter even after Sri Lanka Mission providing all required video clipping of the incident to the officials conducting investigations.

According diplomatic sources the pre-meditated attack on the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oslo has been launched by the LTTE operatives either from Norway or from the neighbouring countries who have gathered there in Oslo for week long demonstrations to exert pressure on the Norwegian Government to exert pressure to halt military operations to rescue civilians.

Norwegian Government

Apart from this the Sri Lankan Government has also reportedly expressed its concern about the facilitation of a telephone conversation between newly appointed LTTE political Chief Kumaran Pathmanathan and the UN officials.

Therefore, the Government officially conveyed to the Norwegian Government that Norway can no longer play the role of facilitator under these circumstances ending a nearly decade-long facilitator role in Sri Lanka to solve the North East crisis.

With this the LTTE has lost its last chance of legitimately involving the Norwegian Government in its affairs and open doors of the international forums through their facilitation and to bring pressure on the Sri Lankan Government.

Due to this situation the international terror network of the LTTE is busy creating international pressure on the Sri Lankan government by engaging in violent campaigns and disrupting the law and order in countries to get them involved in the Sri Lankan issue.

LTTE terror

Many countries who are not aware of the ground reality in Sri Lanka may succumb to the pressures exerted on them by the LTTE terror network through their violent campaigns, but these countries should understand the real situation in Sri Lanka after having talked to more than 65,000 civilians who had escaped from the Tiger grip and sought refuge in Security Forces controlled areas.

Therefore, the international community should make a genuine effort to get the correct version of the situation without being misled by the false information campaign by the LTTE propagandists across the globe at a time the Sri Lankan Security Forces are trying to fulfill the task of eliminating one of the ruthless terror outfits in the world from the Sri Lankan soil.

********************

President's surprise visit to Kilinochchi

With the dawn of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year the Northern town of Kilinochchi was in for a surprise. The soldiers engaged in humanitarian operations there were amazed at the visit of their Commander-in-Chief and Head of State President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday morning.

Kilinochchi was liberated from the control of the LTTE by the 57 and 58 Divisions on January 2, 2009. Army Commander Lt. General Sarath Fonseka who gave leadership to this battle was also with the President for the first time in Kilinochchi to witness the situation.

President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Navy Commander Vice Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Roshan Gunatilleke and IGP Jayantha Wickremeratne also accompanied the President during this historic visit.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa who steered this military campaign along with the Security Forces chiefs made this sudden visit to Kilinochchi town yesterday morning at an unexpected moment at a time our valiant troops were celebrating the Sinhala and Tamil New Year far away from their residences and loved ones.

He was briefed by General Officer Commanding the 57 Division Major General Jagath Dias and 58 Division GOC Brigadier Shavendra Silva about their victories from Kalmadu to Visuamadu and from Mannar to Puthukudiyiruppu, at the briefing held at the Kilinochchi hospital.

The President was very keen to hear from the field commanders about the situation in No Fire Zone and about the plans mooted by them to rescue the civilians trapped there in the No Fire Zone.

President Rajapaksa gave away gift parcels to each and every soldier present there at the Kilinochchi hospital premises and talked freely to the soldiers while having tea and carefully inspected the weapons recovered by the 57 and 58 Divisions.

He freely walked on the streets in Kilinochchi and closely inspected the water tank which had been destroyed by the LTTE and made a surprise visit to 58 Division headquarters located in the Kilinochchi town and inspected the Operations Room and had view of the UAV visuals of the No Fire Zone. All the LTTE buildings including the LTTE political headquarters and the Peace Secretariat building came under his inspection and he visited the barracks of the soldiers and officers to observe the facilities provided to them.

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