'VICTORY DAY' MESSAGE ISSUED BY COMMANDER RECALLS 58 DIVISION'S CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE

"It is with pride and dignity I take this opportunity to recall the commemoration of the 12the 'Victory Day' that eradicated terrorism on a day like today (18 May) to ensure territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of our Motherland, in which I as the General Officer Commanding of the 58 Division at that period gave leadership to those troops to unify the entire Nation while uprooting terrorism from our land, " says General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army in a special message that coincides with the 'Ranaviru Day' (War Heroes' Day).

 

"The suffering and damage caused during that 30-year long period was beyond description and indescribable as all Sri Lankans had to shoulder the impact of the brutal war at all fronts. Although respective governments attempted to resolve issues by arranging ceasefires and peace talks, those gestures failed and compelled armed forces of the country to safeguard the Nation at all costs as terrorists violated such moves arbitrarily and unilaterally on many occasions. After the closure of the Mavil Aru sluice gates in July 2006 depriving water to many thousands set the stage ready for the start of the Eastern Humanitarian Operation," he adds.

 

Here follows the full text of the Message:

 

MESSAGE OF THE CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF & COMMANDER OF THE ARMY ON 12th VICTORY DAY COMMEMORATION

 

It is with pride and dignity I take this opportunity to recall the commemoration of the 12the 'Victory Day' that eradicated terrorism on a day like today (18 May) to ensure territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of our Motherland, in which I as the General Officer Commanding of the 58 Division at that period gave leadership to those troops to unify the entire Nation while uprooting terrorism from our land.

 

The suffering and damage caused during that 30-year long period was beyond description and indescribable as all Sri Lankans had to shoulder the impact of the brutal war at all fronts. Although respective governments attempted to resolve issues by arranging ceasefires and peace talks, those gestures failed and compelled armed forces of the country to safeguard the Nation at all costs as terrorists violated such moves arbitrarily and unilaterally on many occasions. After the closure of the Mavil Aru sluice gates in July 2006 depriving water to many thousands set the stage ready for the start of the Eastern Humanitarian Operation.

 

LTTE terrorists after abrupt closure of the Mavil Aru sluice gates on 26 July 2006 cut off water supply to thousands of innocent civilians and their farmalands and once again showed their brutality. After this episode, troops were compelled to relieve affected people of this difficulty by launching the East Humanitarian Operation which joins history as a turning point in the eradication of terrorism.

 

After clearing the Eastern province from clutches of LTTE terrorism, heroic soldiers of the armed forces moved into the northern theatre and completely eradicated terrorism from the country by 18th May 2009, marking a milestone in the annals of the country's history and drawing the attention of the whole world.

 

It is important for us to remember that our brave soldiers while fighting fierce battles at the expense of their precious lives and indescribable sacrifices achieved this unparalleled victory and I sincerely believe the 58 Division troops, commanded by me at that period too immensely contributed to the final victory over terrorism. On this historic day, I recall the supreme sacrifices, made by all young War Heroes/ Civil staffers throughout the culmination of the war since the massacre of 13 Army War Heroes in Thirunaveli, Jaffna in 1983 with utmost respect and wish them attain supreme bliss of Nibbana. Likewise, I wish speedy recovery to all War Heroes who sustained injuries and still recuperating.

 

The leadership gave by the incumbent Prime Minister who was then the President, Hon Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as the outstanding contribution and unwavering leadership towards the same by HE the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Defence Secretary at that time while introducing new strategies and tactics for this success enabled us to mobilize our troops decisively with vigour and determination for eradication of this menace from our country. All defence hierarchy, including the then Chief of Defence Staa, Commander of the Army, past Commanders, IGP, all ground commanders as well as the youth who joined the Army en masse to defeat terrorism in a short span should also be remembered at this commemorative juncture.

 

Despite indescribable travails and difficulties, sustained by people of all ethnicity in the country, everyone unitedly supported the endeavours of our War Heroes to crush LTTE terrorism in a convincing manner and that cooperation and moral encouragement is remembered with deep gratitude on this important day.

 

Giving an example to the whole world, our War Heroes after successful completion of the terrorist menace are currently at the forefront in salvaging the people from the COVID-19 infection as defenders of the nation which has come in for praise of the whole world. They deserve my appreciation and praise at this critical juncture.

 

While recalling invaluable contribution and excellent leadership gave by former Army Commanders for defence of the Motherland in the past as well as by all War Heroes, engaged in national endeavours, let me pay my deep gratitude at this moment. Similarly, I wish all of you who prioritize national security concerns and the well-being of our citizens have courage, strength, vision and sound health to forge ahead with those sacred commitments. I wish all of you a victorious future.!