Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Agni Keela II (2006)

by S. Makenthiran

The International Community is adding fuel to the fire by supporting the Sri Lankan Government massacring the innocent Tamils claiming to fight the Tamil Tigers.  Indiscriminate aerial bombing has resulted in the death of many innocent Tamil women and children and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.  A thousand Tamils have been abducted and killed or disappeared on a daily basis in the Northeast and Colombo.

The warlords of Sri Lanka have not learnt by past experience.  In a replay of the disaster of Agni Keela (Anvil of Fire) offensive of  April 24, 2001, the Sri Lankan army advanced into LTTE territory on October 11, 2006 from the  frontlines at Kilali, Muhamalai and Nagarkovil in an attempt to capture Elephant Pass. 

The result was a disaster, exactly like the earlier misadventure and turned out to be an anvil of fire for them, alright. The army fled, leaving about 125 dead bodies in the LTTE-held area.  In addition, one trooper was taken prisoner. The LTTE handed 78 bodies over to the Red Cross. The rest of the corpses were scattered on the battlefield in a shattered state and buried. The government reported that they had 55 dead soldiers’ bodies, but, as usual, it must be an understatement.  Going through the various reports it is possible that the army deaths are around 250 and the wounded about 600.  Of the wounded 400 may be seriously injured.  On top of that, the SLA lost 12 armoured vehicles and large stocks of military hardware. All this was within 6 hours of fighting in one day.

The captured Singhalese soldier being treated by a Tamil Eelam Paramedic

The  LTTE accepted a death toll of  22 of their cadres, but gave no news about the injured. It is likely that the losses to the Tigers were minimal as they were on the defensive, well entrenched and fortified.  Some were protected in foxholes.  The defenders were both men and women.  They let the army advance into a trap and opened up after surrounding them.  It was  tragedy for the sons of poor Singhalese villagers. The sight of piled up dead bodies was pathetic.  Of course, the Singhalese chauvinists praised the dead as heroes, but - who cares - they were not the children of the rulers and the rich. They were sacrificed in the name of Singhalese chauvinism or 'patriotism.'  Like the Charge of the Light Brigade, the soldiers bravely faced the fire from all sides and were slaughtered like cattle.  Someone had blundered in giving the marching orders.

As Harry Goonatileke, the retired Air Force commander commented, the SLA was a victim of their own propaganda.  They grossly underestimated their enemy and paid for it dearly.  They had begun to believe their own propaganda that the Singhalese army was superior and that they had weakened the LTTE.  They had mistaken the LTTE’s  strategic withdrawals from Mavilaru and Sampoor as signs that LTTE had been vanguished. There was no element of surprise in the attack by the SLA on the Northern frontline as their movements were pretty obvious despite their dishonest denials. 

The apologists for the Singhalese chauvinists now say that LTTE has used up all its resources and that this is their last battle. God forbid, and if the military top brass attempt a repeat of Jayasikuru (Victory Assured) of  1997-1999, when the SLA was completely routed by the LTTE, it will be another disaster for the country.  We all know how in 1999, Victory Assured became Defeat Assured.

LTTE hands over the dead bodies of Singhalese soldiers to the Red Cross

As in Agni Keela of 2001, many men of the SLA lost their limbs in land mines.  The armoured vehicles were destroyed by monster mines laid by LTTE.  The Tamil women of the Malathi and  Sothia Brigades valiantly defended their homeland.  The Victor Brigade was responsible for destroying the armoured vehicles.  The Special Commander and veteran fighter Colonel Deepan was in overall command of the defensive operation and acquitted himself creditably.  These brave sons and daughters of Tamil Eelam are home-gown products battling against the foreign-trained Singhalese battalions. The Tamil Eelam fighting force probably of about 15,000 are battling a numerically superior and better armed state military force, which on paper is 150,000 strong. Many of the armed forces have deserted.  It is the dedication and determination that has been the deciding factor in the grim confrontation.

The truth is glaring.  The SL armed forces had - in violation of the ceasefire - trespassed into LTTE land and got crushed.  The GOSL propaganda machine keeps on repeating that they were attacked by the LTTE.  These pretensions are despite the fact that all the 128 dead bodies of the Singhalese are in LTTE-controlled territory and the SLA had not one Tamil fighter dead or alive to show the people and the International Community.  As usual, the propaganda machine is trumpeting that 194 LTTE fighters have died for the consumption of the Singhalese people.  There is no way that the government can ascertain the extent of LTTE losses.

Now  there are reports that this misadventure was undertaken by the army commander Lieut. General Sarath Fonseka without the approval of President Mahinda Rajapakse.  The latter had blundered by letting a  chauvinist  and racist politician like Wimal Weerawamsa of the extremist JVP go in an army helicopter to Jaffna and lecture the armed forces.  His stirring racist speeches and anti Tamil rhetoric may have contributed to the foolhardy attack on the LTTE stronghold and the rashness of the troopers, resulting in the debacle.

There are wild reports about a plot by the JVP to stage a coup with the collusion of the army commander Sarath Fonseka.  Mahinda Rajapakse, by conniving at the extremists, may be re-enacting the story of Suba the gatekeeper.  There was a Singhalese king who had a look-alike gatekeeper, Suba.  The king foolishly tried a practical joke by sometimes asking the gatekeeper to sit on the throne while he acted as the gatekeeper.  One fine day the gatekeeper from the throne ordered the execution of the king, who was acting as the gatekeeper.  This may well happen to Mahinda Rajapakse.

The army has suffered losses in the recent past at Mankerni, where 50 army personnel died, along with some paramilitary men of the Karuna group.  At Habarana 103 naval men were killed and 150 injured.  The Singhalese army of occupation has been locked in a low intensity conflict since Mahinda Rajapakse was elected President and many Tamil and Singhalese combatants and civilians have been killed.  The country is bleeding.

The pro-Singhalese media reported that President Rajapakse had been at the funeral of two of the dead soldiers and that the people had asked him not to be there as his security was at risk from terrorists.  This makes me laugh.  What is likely is that they had asked him to get lost as the people at the funeral were furious.

The International Community is adding fuel to the fire by supporting the Sri Lankan Government massacring the innocent Tamils claiming to fight the Tamil Tigers.  Indiscriminate aerial bombing has resulted in the death of many innocent Tamil women and children and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.  A thousand Tamils have been abducted and killed or disappeared on a daily basis in the Northeast and Colombo.

American, Western and Pakistani officials periodically visit Sri Lanka to give encouragement to the murderous policies and state terrorism of the Sri Lankan government. To add insult to injury, these persons make it a point to visit the army-occupied areas of the Tamil homeland such as Jaffna and Trincomalee, for which the motivation is not known. These foreign emissaries would do well to keep out of the country if they cannot put a stop to the genocide, as they are doing more harm than good.

Some foreign governments are aggravating the situation by giving military help and arms to the Singhalese-dominated Sri Lankan government.  There are persistent reports that Pakistani pilots are being employed to bomb Tamil areas. 

Now an all-Singhalese Supreme Court has given a verdict on the application by the racist-motivated JVP and JHU to break up the Tamil Homeland of the Northeast.  However, this issue will be ultimately decided on the field of battle, as Tamils will never get justice from the Sri Lankan government or the judiciary.  This all-Singhalese judiciary also blocked Tsunami aid reaching the Tamils.

It is indeed a pity that the country is under the jackboot of the Rajapakse government and his brothers. He is surrounded by Singhalese extremist cronies.  As a macabre joke, these lunatic knaves are proposing to solve the Tamil problem by devolution through village councils. 

The prospects of the talks to be held at Geneva at the end of this month looks gloomy.

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