Elimination of Terrorism: 13 years on | Daily News

Elimination of Terrorism: 13 years on

“The Soldier is the Army. No Army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is bearing arms for one’s country.”  - General George S Patton

Heroes are everywhere in the world. But, of course, all have specifications over their performances with commitments. But I am not going to write about all heroes described by A-Z. Instead, it is about the war heroes who sacrificed their lives for the Motherland.

Thirteen years ago, this Motherland also suffered from ruthless terrorism. It took thousands of innocent human lives and millions worth of properties. However, on the sunny day of our Sri Lankan history (May 19, 2009), evil terrorism was eradicated by the troops, who stopped the bloodshed. Heroic War Heroes of the Army (23,962), Navy (1,160), Air Force (443), together with 2,598 Policemen and 456 Civil Security Department personnel - altogether a total of 28,619 made the Supreme Sacrifice in the fight against LTTE terrorism.

That was not an easy task for them. Army troops fought in adverse weather conditions with new military tactics instead of conventional military tactics. Ultimately all commitments and the contributions of the soldiers succeeded and they earned victory. Even today, we have flashbacks of heroic landmarks of their journey.

Now it is almost 13 years after the humanitarian operation. The 5 R Concept (Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Reintegration, Resettlement and Reconciliation) is most streamlined in all communities to uplift the living standards of all Sri Lankans.

Today, Sri Lanka Army, as the most significantly disciplined human resource in the country, functions under the theme of ‘Protectors of the Nation’. They have joined hands for the various concepts in addition to protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Motherland. As brave sons and daughters of the Motherland, the Army recently successfully faced the battle against COVID-19 in different assignments under the leadership of General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army and as the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID -19 Outbreak.

Quarantine Centres: The Army joined hands in constructing Quarantine Centres (QCs) at the preliminary pandemic stage and as the pandemic spread, extended the constructions around the country. They facilitated the inmates of the QCs with free meals, medicine, WI-FI, and mindfulness programmes. In addition, the troops’ special attention and caring gave priority to the differently-abled inmates and infants.

Intermediate Care Centres (ICCs): In strengthening the efforts of the Government health sector, to provide adequate treatment to COVID-19 patients, the Army constructed, renovated and established ICCs islandwide on a large scale, like centres in Iranawila and Brandix Seeduwa. Medical experts of the Sri Lanka Army, together with the Ministry of Health, Medical Experts, Doctors and other medical staff, served at the ICCs on behalf of the citizens of the country in the name of Humanity.

Vaccination Drive: To reduce the spread of the Coronavirus and reduce the death rate, the Sri Lanka Army troops started the vaccination process. Subsequently, it was enhanced with mobile vaccination drives, which were effectively worked out for elders and differently-abled communities.

The Army and the environment also have a mutual relationship which was strengthened by the Army’s concept Thuru Mithuru Nawa Ratak green drive with the directions of the Army Chief. The troops conducted tree planting programmes and other Shramadana campaigns around the country. The removal of the X-Press Pearl ship waste from the coastal belts by the Sri Lanka Army is commendable.

The wings of the Army are widespread and much strengthened with the diversifications of its human resources and technology. The Army introduced many timely and practical innovations, like modified vehicles for United Nations Peacekeeping Forces and disinfection equipment. These innovations helped to save the public money in the country. Sri Lanka Army Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Sri Lanka Signal Corps and Sri Lanka Engineers played a vital role in this regard.

Disaster Relief Operations are also one more hard commitment performed by Army troops. In the Sri Lankan context, apart from the COVID-19 pandemic, floods, landslides, and wildfires challenged the people’s day-to-day lives, worsening the situation. Nevertheless, the Sri Lanka Army, like a guardian angel of the Nation, has taken the lead in the search and rescue operations and fire extinguishing operations.

Blood Donation Campaigns are the best way the Army shows its generosity to all as a humanistic Army. Troops are always the leaders in donating blood anywhere in the country. It is for the betterment of every community. It is indeed possible that many lives of wounded enemy cadres would have been saved by the blood donated by Forces personnel.

Donation of dry rations and other items: Pandemics and other different situations hurt all Sri Lankans in many ways. But the helping hand of the Sri Lanka Army was there every time to heal the people in every possible way, like providing dry rations to their doorsteps. This extended to delivering pure drinking water by the troops to needy families in drought-affected areas.

Assisting Senior Citizens: This is one more charity conducted by the troops during COVID-19 pandemic. Senior citizens of the country can be considered the Nation’s roots. Hence, without forgetting the contribution they provided to the country, the troops of the Sri Lanka Army, during the pandemic, carefully assisted the senior citizens on their pension days monthly. It included transport facilities from their doorsteps to the relevant banks or post offices. Vehicles of the Sri Lanka Army and the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) buses were utilized in this endeavour.

Housing projects for the Needy: This is one more humanistic project conducted under the concept introduced by the Army Chief. Even amidst various other commitments, they did not stop completing the housing projects without delay for the needy families around the island, including the Northern and Eastern areas.

Nation-building programmes: These can be highlighted as projects that save the Government money and human resources with the Army’s commitment, effectiveness, and efficiency. The Army Engineers, Corp of Engineers Services, and others at the frontline of nation-building continued their work. Following the directions of the President, under the concept of ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, they played a vital role by carrying out road constructions for needy villagers such as those in Lankagama near Sinharaja, playgrounds and building constructions at schools and tank renovations for farming etc.

Contribution to Agriculture, Livestock and Organic fertilizer production: This is one more milestone of the Sri Lanka Army. When carrying out duties, the Sri Lanka Army, by nature, acts with foresight. Hence even under any situation, the Army continues the cultivation of paddy, vegetables, wheat, coconut, chilly and turmeric. Also, dairy products like fresh milk, pasteurized milk, curd, layer chickens, eggs and fruits like mango, papaya and banana. The Army also promoted organic fertilizer among the farmers who had been accustomed to using chemical fertilizers.

Recently, the Army had to ensure the Nation’s security with the spread of violent activities in the country. Therefore, during the curfew period, Army troops gave their total cooperation to the Sri Lanka Police to maintain the law and order in the land. In addition, the rider teams of the Sri Lanka Army conducted patrols around the country, ensuring public security and safety.

These are the roles and tasks performed by the protectors of the Nation after eradicating LTTE terrorism from the Motherland. For all of these commitments, all ranks in the Army from the commanders down to the junior most soldiers committed their blood, sweat, and time.

Under the direction of General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head of the Green Agriculture Operation Centre, Major General Vikum Liyanage, Chief of Staff, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Deputy Chief Of Staff, Commandant Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force, Commanders of the Security Forces Headquarters, Colonel Commandants and Colonels of the Regiments, Division Commanders, Brigade Commanders, Commanding Officers, all Officers and Other Ranks are the stakeholders of all the above programmes.

As the most prominent human resource in the country, the Army is always ready to face any challenges with its battle preparedness. The discipline, training and professionalism of the troops of the Sri Lanka Army will make a better future for the Nation in line with the true meaning of the phrase, “Protectors of the Nation”. Today, as the Nation marks 13 years of the end of the conflict, let us once again remember with gratitude their valour and commitment to the Nation.

 


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