Debacles suffered by our forces under Chandrika’s reign – Part II
Posted on January 11th, 2018


Victor Ivan’s notorious Bandit Queen Chandrika in her dementia keeps on telling the blatant lie that it is she who completed ¾ of the 30 year’ of war.  Although this claim is not even believed by her trusted friends and acolytes this is part II of the article that disproves her malicious claim with some detailed accounts of facts outlining the misery and setbacks suffered by our armed forces during her reign.

Tiger terrorisrs overran government military units in the northern town of Pallai on April 30, just one week after taking the strategic Elephant Pass, which had guarded access to the rest of the Jaffna Peninsula in northern Sri Lanka. The victories made it increasingly likely that the traditional Tamil capital of Jaffna will fall to the guerrillas after five years in government hands.

The increasing success of the campaign by the Tiger Terrorists created the seeds of disarray for the government. The terrorists progressed quickly from hit-and-run guerrilla warfare to coordinated, combined arms action and Chandrika faced growing pressure from opposition political parties and a humiliated military. A coordinated and renewed military campaign began in November 1999, when the terrorists overran 10 bases in less than a week. During the offensive, LTTE forces made extensive use of long-range artillery, a tactic repeated in their recent defeat of government forces at Elephant Pass, a vital northern route into the regional capital at Jaffna.

The fall of Elephant Pass and the continued advance of the terrorists had sent shockwaves through Colombo and the leader of the opposition United National Party (UNP), Ranil Wickremesinghe, called the loss of Elephant Pass “a military and political setback” and blamed it squarely on the president.

LTTE terrorisrs hauling away artillery pieces following the fall of Elephant Pass

Chandrika’s moves to engage the LTTE in peace negotiations mediated by Norway drew increasing opposition and commentators said that the losses also exposed rifts between military commanders and Chandrikaa herself, who served as both defense minister and commander-in-chief. On April 28, in a public address to the nation, Chandrika accused the military of showing weakness at Elephant Pass by withdrawing troops and she accused some military officials of placing personal interest above that of the nation.

To counter claims that she is to blame for the army’s humiliating string of defeats, without any strategic planning and on her own decision making Chandrika suspended several military officers and  sacked or replaced some others.  Her government’s punitive measures against military officers were matched by accelerating purchases of military supplies and equipment. However, experts said that it was unlikely the army will be able to resupply fast enough to avoid the loss of the Jaffna Peninsula.

Listed below are some other strategic military gains made by the terrorists mainy due to ill treatment of the forces and demoralising them by the President o the country.

  • Operation Unceasing Waves II:The LTTE launched Operation Unceasing Waves II also known as 1998 Battle of Kilinochchi. . LTTE recaptured Kilinochchi town from Army after 3 days of intense battle.
  • Operation Unceasing Waves III: The LTTE launched Operation Unceasing Waves III on the first week of November 1999. On the first day LTTE began Oddusuddan offensive (1999). After capturing the base they attacked Kanakarayankulam Army HQ. After the fall of the base LTTE recaptured most part of Vanni .
  • Second Battle of Elephant Pass:The LTTE after liberating Vanni launched their attack to liberate Jaffna Peninsula. Known as Second Battle of Elephant Pass. The LTTE stepped up operation inside Jaffna Peninsula. Under the leadership of Kandiah Balasegaran the LTTE launched Sri Lanka’s Terrorist War’s largest behind enemy line operation. After 34 days long battle Elephant Pass base fell to Tamil Tigers.
  • Operation Unceasing Waves IV:On 26th September 2000 the LTTE launched Operation Unceasing Waves IV. The objective of the operation was to liberate Jaffna.
  • LTTE’s Unilateral ceasefire:On 24th December 2000 LTTE declared Unilateral ceasefire. It was ended on 24th April 2001. Analysts said that anticipating a large scale military operation by Army Prabhakatan used these 4 months effectively organising his fighting formations..
  • Operation Agni keela:The Army launched Operation Agnikeela on 25th April 2001 within few hours after LTTE ended their unilateral ceasefire. It’s main objective was to retake Elephant Pass Garrison which they lost to LTTE one year back. LTTE had Booby trapped the whole paths and effectively positioned their artillery and mortar units. Due to heavy casualties the Army abandoned the operation.

List o Civilian Killings

Kallarawa massacre

The Kallarawa massacre is an incident that took place on May 25, 1995 during which LTTE terrorists massacred 42 Sinhalese men, women and children in Kallarawa All the remaining civilian survivors fled the village after this incident leading to its depopulation However survivors from the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim communities returned to Kallarawa several months later under the protection of the Sri Lankan Army

Gonagala massacre

The Gongala Massacre was a massacre that occurred on September 18, 1999, in the small village of Gonagala, located in the Ampara District. Over 50 men, women and children were inhumany hacked to death in the middle of the night by the terrorists who stormed the village.

The Gonagala massacre is one of several such attacks carried out by the terrorists.. However Gonagala murders gained notoriety because, unlike previous attacks, most of the terrorists who took part in it were women. According to survivors, there was a significant presence of female terrorists among the 75 terrorists who took part in the killings

The website reported on 26rg Jul, 2000 that the human rights record of Sri Lanka under President Chandrika Kumaratunga is increasingly coming under international scrutiny. Criticism against President and her government it said was swelling in frequency and tempo and Richard Howitt and Robert Evans, two MEPs who visited Sri Lanka recently, without mincing words accused the Sri Lankan government “of not doing enough to protect civilians caught up in the war against Tamil Tiger rebels and is covering up their suffering.” They compared the plight of the displaced Tamil people in and around the conflict zone with those of Sierra Leone and Chechnya the website said.  It said earlier the two MEPs visited the border town of Vavuniya, where they met Tamil civilians displaced by fighting in the northern Jaffna peninsula and Vanni. The two MEPs directed their harshest criticism against the government for implementing an oppressive press-censorship policy and of not allowing essential supplies, including baby food and medicine, to be distributed in areas controlled by the Tamil Tigers.

Writing further the website said that Mr.Evans, a member of the Parliament’s South Asia delegation, said that President Kumaratunga’s proposals to end the civil war would not work unless she sat down and negotiated with the Tamil Tigers.
The website also stated that before the diplomatic and political ripples raised by the MEPs could die down came hot on the heels a report by Amnesty International (AI). It said that in a hard hitting report dated July 20, 2000, the human rights watchdog AI slammed the Sri Lankan government for continued violation of the rights of the Tamil detainees arrested under the emergency regulations.
The Amnesty International said that it has received reports of at least 540 cases of “disappearance” since the change of government in 1994.

The promulgation of the new emergency regulations was presented by the government as part of a package of measures to put the country on a “war footing”. Other measures included the suspension of all non-essential development activities for three months and the acquisition of sophisticated arms from abroad.

The government also depreciated the rupee as much as 6%, the first in 22 years, and the Central Bank linked the one-stroke depreciation to the ballooning defence expenditure.

The sharp depreciation followed a 14 percent drop in Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves to 1.40 billion dollars at the end of May compared to 1.64 billion dollars at the end of the previous year. There was a further drain on the foreign reserves as the government announced in May that it hoped to spend an additional 175 million dollars to buy urgently needed military hardware. Consequently, the defence budget ballooned to 880 million dollars up from the original estimate of about 706 million dollars.

Military analysts pointed out that when Chandrika assumed office large military bases including Thalladi, Elephant Pass, Mulaitivu, Pooneryn and Kilinochchi were under army control. These were defended with valuable sacrifices of Hasalaka Gamini and the like. However, when she left office these bases had fallen and the terrorists controlled not only the North but the East as well.  They said that the fall of Elephant Pass in 2000 is the worst military debacle of Sri Lanka and the region.

They also pointed that the terrorists killed Denzil Kobbekaduwa, Lalith Athulathmudali, Premadasa and Gamini Dissanayake in rapid succession and if not for these killings she would be unknown to most.

The military analysts said that the fall of Mulaitivu camp (1996) was a turning point in the war. On 19th July the Mulaitivu camp fell killing 1,200 soldiers. They were not given instructions to attack. The air force and the navy were not sent in offensive missions to eliminate the Tamil Tigers.

They pointed out that to cover up the debacle, Chandrika administration launched Operation Sathjaya and later Operation Jayasikuru and both operations failed to weaken the LTTE to the point of surrender. The operation was then reversed causing the fall of previously held army camps as well.  The militry analysts emphasized that it is absurd for Chandrika to claim any credit for war victory.

Having got defeated militarily Chandrika sought to pass her political package as a solution to the problem and allowed the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) to be signed under her watch which is termed the greatest betrayal of modern times.

The Indian website rported on 23rd May, 2000 that upon a request made by Sri Lankan President Mrs. Chandrika Kumaratunga the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is seriouslay considering evacuation of a large number of trapped Lankan troops amounting to more than 40,000 from Jaffna peninsula to the Indian shores.  But Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has insisted that the Sri Lankan forces should not be brought to Tamil Nadu shores even for a temporary passage as it could incite political passions in the state.

The report said that a[i]senior Indian Navy official at the Southern Command said evacuating all the trapped Sri Lankan troops, their military equipment, arms and ammunition and hundreds of stranded civilians to safer places will be a mammoth operation. “If it happens it will be the biggest such operation the Indian forces have ever undertaken. It is impossible to airlift all of them. So the most possible route is through the sea, and since Karunanidhi has insisted that the Sri Lankan troops should not be brought to the Tamil Nadu state, it is likely that they could be taken to the Indian Navy and Air Force bases in Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Cochin.

The website also stated that Sri Lankan Chief of Defence Staff General Rohan de Silva Daluvatte and the country’s Deputy External Affairs Minister Lakshman Kiriella held high-level talks with Indian officials in Bangalore and discussed the logistics of the proposed Indian operation in Jaffna.

(To be continued)

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