Duty of the public
The Security Forces last
week totally defeated the LTTE after a relentless three-year
campaign that began from Mavil Aru in the East. The Forces
battled the ruthless LTTE for 33 long years and many brave sons
and daughters of Mother Lanka sacrificed their lives in the
process. Their commitment to rid Sri Lanka of the cancer of
terrorism was absolute.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa firmly believed that the Security
Forces were capable of eliminating the enemy from our soil.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, with the Forces
Commanders, translated this vision into action.
The Defence Secretary was 100 percent trusted by the
Commander-in-Chief and the Forces Commanders to take decisions
that would enable the Forces to complete the noble humanitarian
mission. Having himself served on the frontlines, he understood
their needs and wishes perfectly. It was this perfect
combination of political and military leadership that led to the
magnificent victory of the Forces.
“The Security Forces have proved themselves that nothing is
impossible if we have perseverance and dedication. Their
sacrifice for the past 30 years for a peaceful country has borne
fruit,” the Defence Secretary has said.
This victory would not have been possible without the support
of the people. Many families gave their children to the Forces.
Others thwarted many attempts by the LTTE to wreak havoc in the
South through their vigilance. They donated lavishly for the
Forces’ welfare. The soldiers were always in their hearts.
The soldier’s task is not over yet. Although guns have been
silenced, there is a long way to go before the Forces can relax
their guard. Disruptive elements could still be on the prowl.
The LTTE’s hidden weapons and splinter cells have to be exposed.
The entire Northern region has to be demined and people
resettled. Thus the Forces will also have a significant role to
play in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of war-torn areas
and the Forces need the people’s support more than ever. More
youth should join to strengthen the Forces as they consolidate
in newly liberated areas.
The biggest tribute that the public can pay to the Forces is
to carry forward their mission of bringing peace and prosperity
to the country. This is precisely what the Defence Secretary
urged the masses to do, speaking at a ceremony held to
felicitate Security Forces who defeated LTTE terrorists:
“The people can take a cue from the Security Forces’ victory
and render their optimum service to the country’s development.”
He stressed that the public should carry out what the country
expects from them without hesitation.
This is the need of the hour. In his twin addresses to the
Nation after the victory over terrorism, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa called on the people to join hands to rebuild the
country. The end of the conflict has presented us with a golden
opportunity to shed all differences and work together to develop
As the President said, there would be only one division in
the country from now on - patriots and non-patriots. It is the
duty of all patriots to rise to this challenge.
Development should now be the priority. Many Governments
proffered the ‘war excuse’ to delay or cancel development
The present Government deviated from this practice,
commencing several mega development projects soon after coming
to power. The President told the massive rally at Parliament
Grounds that as the conflict is finally over, no Government
would henceforth be able to cite the war as a weak excuse to
stop development projects.
It is not possible to prune the defence expenditure
immediately, but there is every possibility that more funds
could be diverted to development over the next few years as
normality is fully established in the North.
The Government is poised to start a massive development drive
in the North under the Northern Spring program. This will
require investment and manpower on a massive scale. All patriots
must assist this endeavour.
The President has also appealed to Sri Lankan expatriates to
help this effort. This is a great opportunity for sections of
the Tamil Diaspora which previously supported the Tigers to
participate in a more meaningful exercise to truly liberate and
empower the Northern Tamil community. More professionals living
overseas should return to Sri Lanka to assist the development
All Lankans should now join the quest for lasting peace. It
is time to eschew thinking along ethnic lines. The North and the
South is being linked physically with the opening of the A9.
Likewise, Northerners and Southerners should be linked in their
hearts to fulfil the common aspirations of all masses and attain
the goals of development.