THE “HUMANITARIAN OPERATION” OF EELAM WAR IV
Posted on June 1st, 2016

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

The LTTE delayed its defeat for four months, In Eelam War IV, by hiding behind 200,000 Tamils as hostages. These hostages were taken by the LTTE first to Mulangavil, then Kilinochchi, Dharmapuram, Vishvamadu and finally Puthumathalan, from where they were rescued by the army. The hostages said that they were forced to leave their homes and proceed to Nanthikadal area, where the LTTE instructed them to abandon their vehicles and join the LTTE. The LTTE were using them as human shields. They were probably instructed to do so. The buses, lorries, tractors, motorcycles and push cycles in which they came were left abandoned in large numbers at Nanthikadal. Exposing  civilians deliberately to  army fire in order to increase the scale of civilian casualties could   be considered a war crime.

The Humanitarian operation of the Sri Lanka army was well planned. The army infiltrated LTTE held area and then fought their way out to clear a path for the civilians to escape. The army prepared carefully for the rescue operation. One unit was to cross the lagoon, while other units captured a three kilometer long earth bund on the banks of the lagoon. They were to launch their operations from three directions, then link up. The divisions rehearsed about 30 times,  including at night, with emphasis on crossing the lagoon.

Commando and Special Forces carried out several deception drills and targeted the weakest section of the earth bund. The Infantry   dug trenches in the No fire Zone, crawled in and waited for orders.   The army crossed the lagoon at midnight of April 20, 2009 using rafts built of local material. They suffered casualties but still crossed the lagoon. Thereafter, the Commandos attacked from one side, Special Forces from another side and the rest of the army infiltrated in between. The intention was to confuse the LTTE, so that a safe route could be opened for civilians to cross the lagoon.

When the heavily mined LTTE embankments were opened up, the hostages came streaming out. ‘It was like hitting a ‘meevadaya’. Before the day was over, army had rescued around 80,000 civilians including the parents of Prabhakaran and Daya Master. By following morning 174,564 more had come in. Hundreds of LTTE cadres had dropped their weapons and joined the large crowd fleeing across the lagoon.  The LTTE had fired heavy machine guns at the fleeing civilians. When the civilians stepped into the lagoon to avoid the gunfire, three LTTE cadres ran to them and exploded themselves”.

The navy had launched a cordon off the Mullaitivu coast to stop the LTTE from escaping.  Some ‘hostages’ started escaping in fishing craft. The LTTE could also have decided to come with them, in suicide craft. Despite this, the navy, at the risk of their lives, helped transfer escaping civilians to government held areas.

Around 300,000 civilians were rescued. On our television screens, we saw them running eagerly towards the armed forces. We also saw how the soldiers compassionately carried across the hostages who could not walk and helped others who could.  The civilians were then counted, registered and taken to the shelters prepared for them. They were not abandoned. The army looked after them. These Tamil refugees had deposited a total of 390 million rupees in the banks. They had carried across millions of rupees in cash and gold securely wrapped in pottanis.

This magnificent rescue has not been given the recognition it deserves. The Defence Ministry called this operation the world’s largest hostage rescue mission. Foreign military officers who attended the international seminar ‘Defeating terrorism, Sri Lanka experience’ in 2012, said that Sri Lanka armed forces were among the best in the world specially considering the way they handled the humanitarian operation.  Concerned observers ask, ‘why is Sri Lanka army’s epic hostage rescue ignored. Can any other country boast of a comparable rescue?’

Sarath Amunugama commented that more publicity should have been given to this heroic rescue operation, particularly the operation at Puthumathalan at the final stage. At Puthumathalan,  He said,  our forces were able to cross the Nanthikadal lagoon, take the opposite bank, go past the man groves, reach the bund and allow the people forcibly held by the LTTE to cross over to freedom.  This was done at the sacrifice of armed forces who died in the process. The army could have finished the war much earlier if not for the hostages.

Sri Lanka army’s epic hostage rescue is a feat of heroism and dedication. Military authorities repeatedly stated that the operation was done at the sacrifice of soldiers who died in the process. This hostage rescue was achieved at tremendous cost to the army, they said, soldiers lost their lives, limbs and eyesight. The army went to the extent of taking losses in a bid to minimize loss of Tamil civilian life. The earth bund behind which the hostages were held was breached at great sacrifice by the army. Many died in the process. Troops assigned to clear civilians rushing to the government held areas had also done so at the risk of their lives. Army officers pointed out that the Tamil civilians owed their lives to the bravery of our soldiers.

The government took note of the International Humanitarian Laws, particularly the Geneva Convention of 1949, (which Sri Lanka had signed) and Protocol II (which it had not signed). The international conventions on war say war must be won without harming civilians caught in the war. Civilians must be protected even when they are in the middle of the fighting. If anything happens to them then it is a ‘war crime’. War, however, is not   a crime. UNP MP Palitha Ranga Bandara declared in Parliament, that the government should go all out to finish the battle, with no restriction on artillery, mortars, air and naval assets. He pointed out that withholding these would mean casualties in the frontline fighting units.

The government   however,   imposed stringent conditions on the army in order to avoid civilian casualties and be charged with ‘war crimes’.  President Rajapakse ordered a halt to air and artillery strikes against the LTTE, despite heavy LTTE resistance.  This made the frontline troops very vulnerable, without air and artillery support. Government also banned the use of heavy weapons.  For the Puthumathalan raid even small arms were restricted.  The army was ordered to cross the lagoon without the necessary weapons, regardless of consequences.   The soldiers were risking their lives, but could only to carry small arms.  Sarath Fonseka stated that the army had to pay a very heavy price for not having the liberty to use heavy weapons against the LTTE for about  four and a half months because of eternal pressure, relating  to Tamil civilians. This confirms that the ‘human shield’ was a pre-planned maneuver. The result was unprecedented losses when fighting under extremely difficult circumstances.

These Tamil ‘hostages’, in their turn, were clearly supportive of the war.  They could have resisted and helped the Sri Lanka army, throughout the long period of war, but they never did.  They must be treated as part of the separatist war. The Penal Code of Sri Lanka says that ‘whoever abets the waging of war’, for instance, by joining an insurrection against the state, has committed an offence against the state and is liable for punishment (section 144). After the war, these hostages promptly voted against President Rajapakse in the presidential elections of 2010 and thereafter in 2015. They were obeying orders once again. As a reward, they are now getting fully detached brick houses with gardens.  The roofs carry the names of the donors, such as Red Cross, Caritas  and Australia aid.

20 Responses to “THE “HUMANITARIAN OPERATION” OF EELAM WAR IV”

  1. stanley perera Says:

    In 1970s catholic church and Sinhala catholics fully surported the the LTTE including about 95% of the Tamils. Expatriot Sinhalese had a very hard time with the church. It should be appreciated that the Burger community was with the GoSL. Some burger women married to Tamils were sympathetic towards the Sinhalese. The writer is one of the piuoneers of USLA in NZ. NZ and Australia openly supported the Tamil Terrorists. The writercalled them the Tamil Terrorists while the church and the west called them the boys and not Terrorists. Sinhala expatriots were seen as racists and the Tamil propaganda was very active and branded Sinhalese were persecuting the minority Tamils. That is how the Tamils became bogus refugees. On the one hand Tamils accused GoSL of genoside and on the otherhand Tamils gained the sympathy from the west. Right through out Tamil diaspora bribed the western media and politicians which they continue to do.

  2. stanley perera Says:

    The world’s biggest lie was conducted by the Tamils while enjoying the privillaged minority status. The women in the Australian High Commission in Colombo including the High Commissioners openly harassed the Sinhalese. Through the High Commission thousnds and thousans of Tamils were exported to Australia as refugees. They were all bogus refugees. Their slogan was the SL Army and the GoSL were persecuting Tamils.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    The biggest joke of the Eelamists PROTESTS staged in LONDON in front of the British Parliament to HALT the HUMANITARIAN OPERATION of EELAM WAR IV was the EXPOSE’ that the Tamils who were FASTING UNTO DEATH were wolfing down McDonalds Big Macs in SECRET!

    That captures the ENTIRE strategy of the EELAMISTS: A CON-GAME to HOODWINK the WEST from START TO END!

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Government lifts restrictions on issuing passports to overseas Sri Lankan refugees
    Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 08:23 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    June 01, Colombo: The Sri Lankan Government has issued a circular today (June 01) ending the restrictions placed in March 2011 on the issuance of passports to Sri Lankan citizens resident abroad who, at different times, were compelled to leave Sri Lanka due to conflict or political reasons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

    In March 2011, instructions had been issued to all Sri Lanka Missions abroad to refrain from issuing passports to those who had applied and gained refugee status or asylum in another country unless they have renounced their refugee and/or asylum status.

    These instructions constituted a violation of citizen’s rights and resulted in hardship and difficulty to many Sri Lankans who were forced to leave the country for political reasons and denied a Sri Lankan travel document, the Ministry said.

    “The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to uphold the right of all Sri Lankan citizens to have a passport and ensure their freedom of movement and travel irrespective of their political beliefs, which will now be guaranteed as per the new instructions issued today,” the statement said.

    In recent times, there has been increased interest among Sri Lankans living abroad to both visit and invest in Sri Lanka as a result of the good governance and reconciliation efforts of the present Government.

    Ending the restrictive practice that prevailed previously will further facilitate the ability and opportunity for Sri Lankan citizens overseas to visit the country and also return to Sri Lanka, contributing thereby to the country’s development and reconciliation processes.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Will Norway RESUME its program of gofting Bulldozers (to build agricultural bunds) and Submarines (for pearl diving) also?

    The NORWEGIANS should be kept away from Sri Lanka like the PLAGUE, but the Yamapalanaya govt will aid and abet their activities to resurrect the DEFUNCT EELAM they supported to the hilt.

    These guys are POISONOUS! I don’t TRUST the Norwegians even as far as I can throw a Grand Piano!

    …………………..
    Norway supports people in Northern Sri Lanka to restart livelihood activities
    Wed, Jun 1, 2016, 07:29 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    June 01, Jaffna: Norway’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tore Hattrem says it is very important for the displaced people in Sri Lanka’s north to return to their original places and re- establish their lives and therefore, the Norwegian Government has decided to financially support the war-affected people in North to re-start the livelihood activities and promote the resettlement process.

    Speaking at an event held to distribute fishing and agriculture equipment to the resettled people in at Valalai, Jaffna on Wednesday, the Deputy Foreign Minister said Norway supports livelihood opportunities for targeted communities in fisheries, agriculture, livestock and alternative income-generating activities.

    Visiting the Norwegian funded UNDP program, Mr. Hattrem, who served as the Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2007 to 2010, said Norway has a longstanding development co-operation with Sri Lanka. He recalled that Norway has assisted the fisheries sector in the North decades ago with the “CEYNOR” project which was a joint venture between Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon and Norway.

    He said in recent years, Norway’s assistance mainly focused on supporting vulnerable communities in the Northern Province. A major part of the support has been extended through the UN Organizations and civil society organizations to enhance the livelihood opportunities of the affected communities.

    Earlier this year, Norway accepted a request from the Ministry of Fishery to assist further within the fishery sector, the Norwegian minister said.

    The Norwegian Minister distributed boats, engines, fishing gears, and some agriculture equipment to the resettled people in Valalai and adjoining villages, who were among the first to return to the original land after the war ended in May 2009.

    “We know you are among the first to return and that many of you have been displaced for a very long time. We understand that you face challenges when you are coming back to your own land. That you have moved back is an important symbol for the new Sri Lanka,” Mr. Hattrem said.

    “I sincerely hope that you will be able to re-establish your lives in your areas of origin. We hope you will contribute with hard work, and are able to rebuild your community and lives on your own land,” he added.

  6. Dilrook Says:

    The “international community” knows better than the Sri Lankan government about the ground situation and the military operation was to save civilians. No PR campaigns needed. 55 nations including almost all western countries participated in ‘Defeating terrorism, Sri Lanka experience’. None would participate if they had the hint of doubt Sri Lankan forces are war criminals.

    Blaming Lankan forces for war crimes advances their geopolitical needs. That is why they went against their own knowledge to impose these war crimes nonsense.

    It is the same with refugees. Canada needed more English aligned (than French) refugees to balance demographics in Quebec. Tamil refugees fulfilled this need cheaply. Most other countries that accepted Tamil refugees wanted to balance out Muslim refugees. However, when refugees became a problem, they simply shut their borders without regard to bogus “humanitarian” nonsense they used to bring these refugees.

  7. aloy Says:

    The same scenario that was there in Mullivaikkal is being created in Falujah, Iraq right now. The shell being fired by the combined forces of Iraq army and others well supported by Obama’s aerial bombardment is going on. The civilians are being held as hostages and a human shield. We can see how they get out of the situation and also save the civilians by a humanitarian operation.

  8. Dham Says:

    යුද අපරාධ චෝදනා විමර්ශනය දේශීය විනිසුරුවන් යටතේ පමණයි
    – රජය හමුදාවට දන්වයි

    කීර්ති වර්ණකුලසූරිය

    විදෙස්‌ රාජ්‍ය නොවන සංවිධාන හා උතුරේ සිවිල් සංවිධානවල ඉල්ලීම මුළුමනින්ම ප්‍රතික්‍ෂේප කරමින් යුද අපරාධ චෝදනා පිළිබඳ දේශීය විමර්ශනය මෙරට විනිසුරුවරුන් යටතේ පැවැත්වෙන බව රජය යුද හමුදාවේ ඉහළ නිලධාරීන්ට දැනුම්දී ඇත.

    මේජර් ජෙනරාල්වරුන්ගේ සිට කර්නල්වරුන් දක්‌වා වූ ඉහළ හමුදා නිලධාරීන් වෙත මේ බව දන්වා තිබේ.

    ලබන ජුනි 13 වැනිදා ජිනීවා මානව හිමිකම් සමුළුව ආරම්භ වන අතර එහිදී මානව හිමිකම් කොමසාරිස්‌ සෙයිද් රාද් හුසේන් මහතා ශ්‍රී ලංකාව සම්බන්ධව විශේෂ කරුණු දැක්‌වීමක්‌ සිදුකරයි.

    ද්‍රවිඩ සන්ධානයද මෙම විමර්ශනයට විදෙස්‌ විනිසුරුවරුන් සම්බන්ධ කරගත යුතු යයි ඉල්ලා තිබුණි.

    මෙම දේශීය විමර්ශනය හමුවට හිටපු කොටි කාන්තා බළකා නායිකාව වූ තමිලිනි හෙළි කළ තොරතුරුද ඉදිරිපත් කෙරේ.

  9. anura seneviratna Says:

    Thank you Kamalika for your informative and heart breaking article about our gallant soldiers’ futile sacrifice of lives to save horrific creatures.

    “The government took note of the International Humanitarian Laws, particularly the Geneva Convention of 1949, (which Sri Lanka had signed) and Protocol II (which it had not signed). The international conventions on war say war must be won without harming civilians caught in the war. Civilians must be protected even when they are in the middle of the fighting. If anything happens to them then it is a ‘war crime’. War, however, is not a crime. ”

    Any law or international convention should be scrutinized as these were made by people and open for upgrading. SL didn’t have a war but defended against a barbaric terrorist invasion insidiously. Hence, SLG should have the power to use any method to defend the nation and country.

    ” These Tamil ‘hostages’, in their turn, were clearly supportive of the war. They could have resisted and helped the Sri Lanka army, throughout the long period of war, but they never did. They must be treated as part of the separatist war. The Penal Code of Sri Lanka says that ‘whoever abets the waging of war’, for instance, by joining an insurrection against the state, has committed an offence against the state and is liable for punishment (section 144). After the war, these hostages promptly voted against President Rajapakse in the presidential elections of 2010 and thereafter in 2015. They were obeying orders once again. As a reward, they are now getting fully detached brick houses with gardens. The roofs carry the names of the donors, such as Red Cross, Caritas and Australia aid. ”

    True, under the cowardly cover of hostages all these were terrorists in civilian garb should have been destroyed. They can haunt again to reduce the population of our nation. More than obeying orders they are racists out to rob our island country to set up a second Tamil Nadu.

  10. Sooriarachi Says:

    “Exposing civilians deliberately to army fire in order to increase the scale of civilian casualties could be considered a war crime.” as stated in your above article.
    Well they indeed are war crimes, as per the daily statements released by UN and Western government officials when describing similar actions taken by the ISIL or ISIS in the middle east, where a battle is raging to retake the city of Faluja in Northern Iraq, which is ruled by Muslim extremists since 2014.
    Though Tamil Tiger terrorists and their overseas diaspora were not condemned for similar war crimes, these officials do not waste a minute to categorise all suicide bombings, human shields, hostage taking, bombing civilian targets etc by ISIS forces, as war crimes.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Our grateful thanks to Kamalika for this article.

    ————–

    That so many soldiers died to save the 300,000 strong LTTE ‘Tamil civilian Human Shield’ only to have Tamil leaders yet misleading Tamil people toward hatred and Separatism, is quite unacceptable.

    This article and others must be presented to the UNHRC and all Embassies.

    Sri Lanka is being turned into a Battleground on a forever basis to form a Separate state for Tamils to suit foreign aspiration !
    Shameful Yahap encouraging this perfidious act.
    Learn or Depart, Yahap ! Failed Royalist Ranil should know his Royal College motto well by now.

    ———–

    Ananda,

    Norwegian Submarines for ‘pearl fisheries’ …. is a joke ! Norway was also training the LTTE to do underwater demolition off the coast of Thailand – must be to demolish ‘pearl banks’ in the Indian Ocean ! ha ha … !!

  12. Dham Says:

    What Dilrook said was true. The best example is Australia now with us mostly ( even during MR’s time) for their own benefit. But no international power will approve intentional bad behaviour of government. We always have to dig out and prove we are not. Occasional ‘bad’ action should have necessary suitable punishment.
    Australian commando killed women, children and even babies found him ‘not guilty’ after a proper investigation. Whether he really purposely killed or not we do not know but it has been accepted by all parties. He is still not give all clear, his metal health has also been taken into account.

    MR didn’t do ANYTHING to save Sunil Ratnayake during such a long period. What mental assessment he got , we don’t even know. But people disgustingly taking political mileage out of his misery and dead peoples and children’s misery.

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    Fran,

    Yes, it was a satirical comment.

    As you well know, it was the Norwegians who gifted the Bulldozers the LTTE used to build the fortification binds in Eelam War 4.

    Some technology and high tech parts used by the LTTE to build their Submarines were also provided by the Norwegians.

    Furthermore, the Norwegians provided the fiberglass fabrication technology the LTTE used to build most of the war craft used by the Sea Tigers. Now, these shameless Norwegians are shopping that same technology to the GOSL to build fishing vessels for the Tamils in the North & East.

    The terrible thing is that all the AID from these advanced Western Countries is going to the Tamil Separatists in the North & East under the pretext of post-war reconstruction; NOTHING is going to Sinhala people.

    Therefore, if the GOSL stops helping the Sinhala people, as is happening now, there is NO ONE TO HELP US!

    And self-help does not work for us, because we don’t trust each other and will not collaborate on anything!

  14. Dham Says:

    Ananda,
    I found this in the net. This is the book I was talking about
    “http://isuru.ruh.ac.lk/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=27543”.

    I noticed Hewage also released books for A/L and seen in internet too. But I very vaguely remember those books were no where near my standard ( just before A/L).

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    Ananda,
    I know you were talking tongue in cheek …. thanks for laugh.

  16. aloy Says:

    Dham,
    I gave a cue on help for ‘Sinhala only’ or ‘Sinhala triumphalism’ on a large scale (not only for a few students) in another thread. Nobody sees it. What can I do?.

  17. Dham Says:

    Aloy,
    Life is short , Buddha said.
    Someone else wise said,
    Giver shall be thankful.
    killing hurts the killer , not the killed.

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    RE Kamalika’s article –
    why is it that Tamil leaders who have always NOT allowed Tamil folk to integrate into mainstream life in Lanka, allowed to get away with their non-National actions such as Vadukoddai Resolution (1976 – call for use of violence for Eelam formation) and call for Separatism even after the war with the LTTE finished ? They are not held accountable for their actions.

    It is this misleading by Tamil leaders from the 1930s onwards that ended up with the INDIA training the LTTE (1980s) and the 13-A imposed on Lanka. The last war was where Lanka soldiers died liberating the country from terrorism, as well as saving the lives of over 300,000 Tamil Civilians in the Human Shield.

    Over 27,000 Lanka soldiers have died since the wars with the LTTE started over a period of nearly 30 yrs. Around 6,000 plus Lanka soldiers died in the final war with the LTTE.

    The 6-A is yet to be activated.

    ———-

    It is infinitely kinder for any govt anywhere to give FREE birth control material to all adults than have wars for whatever reasons. A balance with smaller population in keeping with land mass : food : jobs : education, etc., leads to more harmonious living anywhere.

  19. aloy Says:

    Fran,
    You are at it again, promoting birth control. You should give this advise to UN who gives free food etc. to refugees in war zones. Have a look at the refugees flooding to europe. The war started in Syria about five years ago. But each woman migrating on boats have five or six children less than that age.

    In a way we should be thankful to Bandid Queen and MR for deliberately keeping the Sinhala hinterland undeveloped and poor. The poor families have many children and provide soldiers for tiger wars unlike the educated lot in the cities.

  20. aloy Says:

    Sorry, ‘bandit queen’

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