Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

The Tide is Turning

by K. Mylvaganam, September 4, 2008

General Sarath Fonseka is in a real fix now. With such heavy toll of his soldiers there is going to be very high desertions.

A few weeks back in one of my reports from Vanni I wrote that the war would take a turn, when the fireworks start from the LTTE. I predicted it to commence by the end of September. But I was proved wrong. The game has already started, I guess.


Picture shows one of the rows of the bodies of the Sri Lankan army personnel at the Kilinochchi esplanade opposite police head quarters. One can note that the bodies are carefully laid on plastic sheets and not on bare ground to pay respect to the dead.

From Kilinochchi, where I live I was able to note in the past months, that the shelling was nearing day by day though slowly. But for the past one week it was getting little more faint indicating that the Sri Lankan Army  (SLA) was on the retreat or stagnant. I heard that their advancement was curtailed due to the fierce attack by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Apart from it we were getting a few bodies in single digits now and then during the past 10 days or so. But it hit the ceiling today when I saw 29 bodies (see picture) of the SLA laid on the Kilinochchi esplanade. It was nice to see that the bodies were being caringly covered from the scorching sun after the photographing by the press was over. This is in contrast to what the SLA did to the bodies of the LTTE cadre, who died after their attack on the Anuradhapura airbase. The SL army striped them naked, even the fair sex, and put all the bodies in an open trailer and paraded them through the city. It reflects the difference in culture and the humane nature between the two parties.   I was told a few more bodies were expected. But to be frank I could not wait there as the bodies were stinking due to decomposition. I saw a representative from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was about to take over the bodies and transport them to Vavuniya to be handed over to the SLA. Out of the 29 bodies I understand that 19 would be transported today (03.09.2008) and the balance 10 tomorrow.

The casualties on the part of the SLA have been on the increase for the past two weeks. These twenty bodies are part of the 86 killed in the past two days. This is because they were getting exposed to the LTTE as the SLA moved towards the north. Earlier they were in a constricted and well fortified area with lots of concrete bunkers and earthen bunds that were 10 metres high. Once they get on to an open terrain they become an easy prey to the well trained cadres of the LTTE.

All these days I understand, that mainly the new recruits and junior members of the LTTE were put in to play a defensive role thus preventing or retarding the SLA from moving too much into the interior part of Vanni. Now I gather the senior and well trained personnel of the LTTE are deployed onto the front. This we are able to see from the results during the past few days.

This reminds me of what the former Air Field Martial from the Air Force Mr. Perera said repeatedly. He said: “It is safe for the army to be behind their Forward Defense Line (FDL), which is well fortified from the enemy. But once you cross the FDL then you are in for attack." He also said that the further you go into enemy territory, the more susceptible you will become to the enemy. One reason is; it is an unknown landscape for the arm, but on the contrary the enemy will know it as much as the back of their hands. The next was that, when you put your feet wider, you tend to loose your balance.” He also said very often “It may be easy to take over the enemy territory but holding it is entirely a different story.”


Some of the arms and ammunition recovered by the LTTE from the army.

General Sarath Fonseka is in a real fix now. With such heavy toll of his soldiers there is going to be very high desertions. Already over 27,000 are reported to have deserted in 2007/2008 alone. In the past the number exceeded 50,000. This is going to be accelerated now. It is also reported that those who went on leave are sending medical certificates and staying away and some have absconded already.

Gen. Fonseka has to recruit new personnel or pull out forces from the East and the Peninsula. Fresh recruitment will not prove to be successful under the present circumstances. The Sinhalese village youths know that it will be suicide to join now. Even their parents will not let them go even though they may be poor.

He can ill afford to take soldiers from the East as the soldiers in the East are getting killed, though in small numbers, daily. He cannot pick from Jaffna, as he will fear the LTTE may walk in and take over Jaffna if the forces there are depleted. Already there is a fear in the government sector, that the Tigers may attack Jaffna. Thus he is in a big dilemma right at this moment.

On top of this, unknown persons are said to have exploded a bomb in the heart of the Colombo city recently injuring over 44 people. The government blamed the LTTE for it. Luckily, none of the people were seriously injured as the explosive used was of a less effective type. It appeared that whoever did it wanted to show the government “Don’t you boast a lot of your security arrangements as we can still explode bombs when and where we will.” This bomb hinders Gen. Fonseka to pull out forces from the big cities too. Thank God I am not in Gen. Fonseka’s shoes.  Poor chap he has only a few months to go before his retirement. It is a pity he is going to leave with a sorrowful ending. Who said, “One reaps what one sowed.”

This miniature bomb only illustrates that the so called “Terrorists” are more humane than the government, which drops high powered bombs and artillery shells of devastating nature on civilian targets. This reminds me of another incident when a bomb exploded just outside the Dalada Maligawa, where the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha is kept.  The “Terrorists” could have placed the bomb inside the Sanctum Santorum of the Temple. That would have demolished the entire temple and the Relic could not have been traced. Instead the bomb was placed outside the Temple where the Pandal was erected to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Independence in February 1998. Also they selected a Sunday morning to detonate the explosive. This is what our Sinhalese brethren must take into consideration.

Instead some hooligans calling themselves “Patriots” went into the Ganesha Temple that was nearby and demolished the Temple including the Deity Ganesha. This shows the difference between the “Patriots” and the “Terrorists.”

Reporting from Vanni.


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