Major General Shavendra Silva says the Sri Lankan Government is committed to upgrade living standard of the Tamil people who were liberated from the grip of terrorism.
Addressing a seminar organized by the Tamil Diaspora in the US in Boston yesterday he said that any person from any country of the world is free to come to Sri Lanka and visit the northern and eastern areas.
A rapid development is taking place in those areas. The international community has also expressed their satisfaction for these development activities. The Tamil community who were liberated from the hands of the LTTE has identified the humanitarian aspects of the security forces and the Sri Lankan government. The government has focused special attention to upgrade not only their physical development but also to enhance their mental health. Major General Shavendra Silva also elaborated on the measures taken by the security forces for the benefit of Tamil community in the war torn areas during the humanitarian operation. Meanwhile, it has been reported that some Tamil groups had attempted to prevent him participating at the conference. However, even the pro-LTTE groups who participated at the seminar had praised the Major General for his speech. (Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation 30 January 2011)
Full speech of Major General Shavendra SilvaDeputy Permanent Representative Major General Shavendra Silva's speech to Boston Based Sri Lankans
The feeling was so fabulous when an invitation reached me to speak a few words to much of the dearest colleagues residing around Boston, whose origin is basically found around the Indian Ocean, in a far far away island called Sri Lanka which happened to be most of our lovely motherland. It takes at least 12 hours to reach there even if you hire your personnel air craft. That I told especially to some of the youth in the audience, who might have not gone there still, who have not seen the pearl of the Indian Ocean yet. For more information, it’s a kind of place where the heaven can be seen on alive on earth especially as the biggest problem in the country, the terrorism is no more there.
In the legend of our little country, it had been an island within which it still has a strong history of own that runs back to the early ages second to none of the worldly recognized civilizations. We have had all communities lived harmoniously in the island earlier. Later in the face of invading forces, those island men who were our good old ancestors, had to fight to survive. Many battles were won and equally were lost. History readers sitting here must know the sequent of events in the past better than I do. And long after that, our island became a colony of the British Empire for a period of time that changed many things in the country’s history, until the domination within commonwealth circle under the crown of the queen was ultimately awarded. In 1948, the country received independence and on 1972 Sri Lanka became an Independent Republic on the basement of Sanga, Weda, Guru, Govi and Kamkaru.
I suppose, that was the time of birth of many youths who are in this audience. Here, I do feel that there are lots of things to be clarified in true sense on the issues of aftermath consequences as there are still many a differences, misinterpretations and arguments tend to find opportunities to hinder the smooth function inside the country. Some may feel that their demands were ridiculed sarcastically; some may feel they were neglected within the cause of legitimacy, but what is more important is the freedom we won after war fighting. You are well aware of the last Humanitarian Operation in Sri Lanka and the amount of impact it carries across especially in this post war scenario.
Recently, I happened to refer a concise translation of the Bhagawath Geetha as I am curious of finding facts about many things which were actually, pertaining to the country’s past conflict. There I came crossed almost the similar version of Dhamma Padaya, which contained illustrious teachings of non-violence. Those two books are the bibles of Hindus and Buddhists who have two major cultures in the eastern philosophy, and they explain equally as to do what and what not to, where as we are committed more to the process of violating many discipline and ultimately what happen? We, ourselves would tend to burn in the outcome. I wish the new generation would think in terms of preservation of peace in their motherland rather converting on provisions of finding faults and inviting more trouble. Are we to preserve the peace achieved or let the next generation to restart shooting each other? I believe that, it is our duty to preserve the unity we regained after a strenuous struggle for more than three decades.
And I believe, today, you have a country where there are no violence, no discriminations, where your elders, perhaps dependants, rest in the families are living in peace at last. I just wanted to recall the past memories like that, because I simply wanted to make some pride in you for having your country escaped from Fear and anxiety as it had been experiencing for about past thirty years. So you will see my appearances here today in mufti as more over as a gesture of peace in Sri Lanka and beyond doubt, that will be forever as long as we all are intact together.
I am happy that I am meeting a set of worthy intellectuals from Sri Lanka who represent the motherland in this part of the world in Boston. I’m indeed cautious of educating you on the post-war consequences of Sri Lanka with the hope of accumulating maximum of your attention to the speedy development as there are no such hindrances anyway, due to the obvious fact that there are no more violence in the country aftermath of the final Humanitarian operation two years back. I consider it is much essential to memories some of the vital areas in the battle before turning into the subject matter together with the introduction of how humanly fought in Sri Lanka.
An entry into humanitarian angle of the operation
War fighting Gentlemen, is a kind of art that is being done risking lives in any pandemonium. In our country, we were at a war against terrorism and it was the most ruthless one as you can remember how it activated its fighting elements to the extent which it leveled against humanity identified as the most sinister in the world. For your information, thousands of worthy lives of civilians were perished including the lives of various political leaders from two major communities who saw solutions to the problem. Among such victims, were the Tamils as the majority than Sinhalese. (20 local Tamil politicians & 9 Sinhalese including 1 regional leader, Rajeev Ghandi of India).I do not wish to carry along with more and more introduction to the sinister motives of our faded rival but yet some of the facts will play constructively on lesson learn part, as there are shadows of LTTE terror still popup haphazardly .
At the outset, I must tell you about the last military operation in Sri Lanka to a certain extent leaving your judgment on to the humanitarian access of the military that could have salvaged thousands of civilians without themselves being subjected for getting committed suicide under LTTE. That was not a war the Government of Sri Lanka waged with the intention to kill the enemy but to rescue them and that was the success behind our victory. This is another roccasion I’m disclosing the true fact of our success in public. You might have witnessed some of the actual battle scenarios from various video footages by now, where there were gallant foot soldiers of the Army marching across enemy strong holds to rescue innocent native Tamil civilians from the jaws of the LTTE terrorists who have emerged from the inside of them. LTTE’s act of terror and carnage need not explanation especially at their final stages in the country as their survival was totally found resting on the lives of the civilians who have been deprived of almost all the civilized norms and ethics in the society. Northeastern Tamil civilians who were under them in areas previously controlled by terrorists had been permitted to open their mouths only when eating something to survive and that also according to the wishes of the terror organization. None had spoken on behalf of the native civilians unless other than the government of Sri Lanka itself took measures to address the deprived people under enormous pressure by way of launching a massive rescue mission against LTTE as it was the only way to deal with existing terrorism.
The government of Sri Lanka launched the final operation at this crucial juncture despite warnings from many a number of outfits and personalities who insisted on military devastation that would take place at the breach of negotiation with the rivals. But nothing could have been done to the inspired soldiers of our category to thwart our attempt to see the final episode of the whole drama that was dragging our country to a nightmare for more than thirty years. We draw our swards and defeated the enemy and rescued the whole nation from the evil of terrorism. We the military together could have finished the sinister 30 year old war during our times and it was the most delighted thing in our lives. How we defeated terrorism? Was it because of the case that we totally eliminated the physical strength of the LTTE permanently from the country including their leadership?. No my dear, we hit the most vulnerable weak point of our enemy to knockout in the ring by winning the civilian factor to our side. To tell you very frankly, we have won the terrorism long before the date which is familiar as the final day of the LTTE leader where he died in the mangroves of Nanthikandal lagoon in eatern Mullaithivu seashore. The winning day of SL military was the day that the very first Tamil civilian had escaped towards us through blockades of LTTE. We in the military have done enormous sacrifices for years to see this result. We spent the whole youth in the military to see this result. We lost limbs, we lost lives of men and soldiers and finally we discovered the most strategically important portion of the whole show. If not for our humanity, tender and kindness would that innocent civilian seek for our shelter amidst showers of gunfire on the battle field? That inspired the biggest ever human rescue mission in modern times at Vellamulli Vaikkal where I could have maneuvered my valiant soldiers to raze the whole enemy line within one and half hours in a pitch dark night where there were not a single civilian casualty was reported due to gun fire except for the enemy inflicted three suicide explosions inside the civilians. We did our best to the civilians who needed freedom. That is why the operation is widely recognized as the Humanitarian Operation ever to conduct in the country.
I can never forget the supreme sacrifices of my men in battle. But more over than anything else, what was inspiring in my life is none of the thing other than the blessings of the rescued civilians by me who are now totally free to live on their own native land. As we are at the doorstep of the 63rd Independence celebrations of Sri Lanka, those innocent civilians who were salvaged at the final episode in the country’s war diary are the happiest ever to gain their Independence physically on the ground. I feel like I’m not that fortunate to be among them this time to share the joy of true independence that was long awaited.
Though you might have seen me and my men in amour those days, those innocent native Tamil civilians know us very well and they know what our soldiers have done to ease them in the battle. They know that we gave our rice packet to them for days and weeks sustaining our own hunger. They know that we went in front to safe guard them when they were escaping. They saw our soldiers giving their chest to enemy bullet when they were firing during their escape. Our soldiers became nurses and did some labor room duties in instances when delivering mothers took our shelter in war torn areas where there were not a single aid agency volunteered to appear for the assistance. . What else more about the humanitarian part in the operation where, nowhere in the world could hear things of this nature?
Post war development
Well, as the war is over by now what remains is obviously the entry into development. We have to regain what we lost during the time of conflict. As together we have lost many things we have to recover them jointly. More prominently, there will be no many security zones as previous in the areas around military presence. People are free for their living today. I should ask you to enter Jaffna, kilinochchi, Paranthan, Poonakari and other city limits these days to see the busy schedule of trade in those townships.
At the revival of economic prosperity soon after the decades long separatist terrorism, Sri Lanka significantly gained yet another commendation by Mr,Teo Chee Hean, the Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and the Defence Minister, when he was commenting on Sri Lanka’s speedy economical growth during his address in a session at the ISAS, Singapore ( Institute of South Asian Studies) under ‘South Asia in the New decade, Challenges and Prospects’. He revealed Sri Lanka is currently the second fastest growing Asian economy after China. Its so inspiring to hear that sort of comment from Singapore which had gone high in the level of development by looking at us back in the recent history. As the country is heading towards a gigantic economical aspiration by 2011, it could have been easily detected the war torn areas are now under reconstruction with the enthusiastic support of native Tamil civilians who saw shelter in the government security forces during last humanitarian operations. In Sri Lanka, war has become a past chapter in the history book. And that will be ever referred as a study matter but today the significance lies on speedy post war developments.
Government has prioritized de-mining the war erupted areas as the no 1 work to be finished as the resettling is to be completed soon. As for the latest report of the visiting UN envoy in Sri Lanka there only remain 20,000 IDPs in centers out of 300 thousand civilians and sooner they will have their proper employment in the native lands as previously. Road network linking Jaffna peninsula had laid a permanent milestone in northern industrial uplift and HE the President was the enthusiastic figure at the ceremonial function that took place last week to open the new Sangupiddi causeway that bridge the gap of Jaffna and the main land. A-32 as one of the main life lines joining western axis of the island is today a well constructed highway. I am so proud to see the development on A 32. The entire stretch of A 32 from Mannar to Pooneryn was liberated by 58th Division under my command. There miraculous opportunities are opening for the excavation of oil fields in the Mannar Basin where wanni community will be able to employ in various related occupations in future. I must tell you that we are in the position of generating wind power electricity from the northwestern wind of Sri Lanka. The new rail road has already come to the tip of Thalai Mannar and now carrying a fine fishing harvest down to Colombo and south. Just look at the Giants Tank now which is one of the largest of all in the country that had been set to destroy before the humanitarian operation. Today the tank shows the potential of producing half of the rice requirement of the country as you will be able to see jumbo machines harvesting on paddy fields in the RICE BOWL where I happened to fight pitch battles.
During a ceremony, recently held to distribute new Text Books at Orshills Vivekananda Maha Vidyalaya, Trincomalee, last month it was revealed that 1 42 387 students have passed in all three subjects out of 230000 applicants in the last G.C.E.(A/L) examination conducted by the Dept of Education of Sri Lanka. Moreover, 4384 students have scored ‘A’ grading in all three subjects. Those brilliant students are from 10 schools out of whole schools in the country and among those 10, contribution from the schools in Jaffna, Baticaloa and Ampara districts are comparatively at a high average to the previous eras of war fighting. For your better knowledge, I must make you aware of the amount of schools the government has restarted in previously conflict areas. Under the program Uthuru Wasanthaya (massage of goodwill to North) the entire infrastructure for implementation of education from primary level up to university entrance had been already introduced to the northeastern school goers by the government. Nanasala implementation launched with the auspicious of Information Technological department of the Presidential Secretariat for the IT introduction to northern areas had been able to achieve a progressive result so far in the fields of Education, Banking, industrial development and in Arts and culture in universities in north and east.
Rehabilitation of LTTE cadres including women and children gained yet another commendation . They are to enter the skillful vocational sectors and to join the main stream of local production. The government effort in this regard had extended to a scale that systematic program with the conjunction of many local ministries have already met with their outputs of projects.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if you don’t stop me here I will not get down from the podium because I can tell things for days with my own experiences in the whole sequence of termination of Sri Lanka towards peaceful nation. Anyway, with my arrival at your door step in Boston, I carry the peace massage of free Lanka across everyone and would be seeking high profile diplomacy with your involvement in it to serve Sri Lankans better in future. I should remind you again that you are the reps of your country and your tasks are mammoth numbered ahead. Mind you Ladies and Gentlemen, you are Sri Lankans, not Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or whatever. “united, we stand and divided, we fall’.
Let this occasion be a token of goodwill to Sri Lankan society in Boston and also to worthy citizens of Boston in United States and also let this will be our start to compete at the run towards prosperity in Sri Lanka.