IDP rehab process in place
After the successful annihilation of the LTTE in Sri
Lankan shores, the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government has now fully
committed to rehabilitating the former LTTE cadres and resettling
thousands of displaced civilians.
As a first step towards national reconciliation and
integration, the Government has implemented a massive resettlement
and rehabilitation plan to bring the lives of thousands of Northern
civilians back to normal.
Despite criticism about the situation in the camps,
the Government is trying its best to take care of over 300,000 lives
until they are resettled in their own environments.
The local and international pundits, who tried to
block the military offensives in LTTE controlled areas a few months
ago, are coming with various theoretical concepts on how to treat
IDPs and ex-LTTE cadres.
They have completely forgotten the fact that this is
the same government that successfully handled thousands of IDPs in
the Eastern humanitarian operation in 2007. The resettlement program
which progressed following accepted international standards, was
appreciated by many leading countries.
Within a few days of liberating civilians, who were
used as a human shield by LTTE terrorists, the Government had
provided them facilities while taking steps to provide temporary
shelter for them.
Looking after an unexpected number of civilians plus
the ex-cadres is a gigantic task and as a responsible government it
took all measures to make these terror stricken lives more
Civilians, who were once exposed to terror day and
night, started sleeping peacefully for the first time in their lives
for the last thirty years in the last two months.
Those who attempted to tarnish the good work of the
Government, have now started to find fault with the system in the
IDP camps, now bustling with services - education, banking,
communication, counselling and health facilities. Day-to-day life
has in fact begun there.
Who can think about an environment without barbed
wires and full security around in these IDP camps? Though the
military had reduced the LTTE to zero, the risk of disrupting the
normalacy in these camps exists.
The allegation of barbed wires, high walls around
the camps and full security can be thrown into the waste bin as all
these measures have been taken by the Government not to suppress the
rights of these IDPs, but to protect them from any harm.
Some may have an urgency to see that the Northern
IDPs are resettled. But the Government has to carry out the process
carefully minimizing the risks and also corruption. These people,
who were battered under the heels of terrorists, cannot be left to
be victimised again. They need full security and support to live.
They need to rise from the ashes.
Here the soldiers play a vital role to prevent the
LTTE from emerging again.
While providing maximum security, the military is
shouldering the responsibility of creating a conducive environment
for resettling people in the North. The military, commencing their
mission to assist the Government to accelerate its mission to
resettle the IDPs in their original habitats, has begun by clearing
the once war torn areas in the North explosive, ammunition and
While clearing the deadly mines, the soldiers are
now fully engaged in constructing new roads and bridges in the
North. They are also engaged in various development activities in
the North to set the ground to resettle IDPs.
The Government, which spends a colossal amount of
money to look after these IDPs will certainly not confine them to
camps for years. Most of the IDPs have lost their houses. They
cannot go back to them they are destroyed or mined.
Though the critics sling mud at the Government
saying that there is no proper plan or a time frame to resettle
these IDPs, the Government goes ahead with a targeted plan to
conclude the process within 180 days.
According to military sources, the weapons,
ammunition and explosives hidden by the LTTE in their former
controlled areas are much more than what they have recovered.
This poses a danger and needs to be fully cleared
before resettling the IDPs. To make the rehabilitation and
resettlement a meaningful process and to leave no errors, the
Government has appointed a new Commissioner General of
Rehabilitation to expedite the process.
The new Commissioner Maj. Gen. Daya Ratnayake
directly functions under President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his task
is to resettle the IDPs in welfare centres in Vavuniya.
He will also be saddled with the task of
rehabilitating over 10,000 ex-LTTE cadres and thousands of families
which had direct contacts with the LTTE.
This indicates the need for implementing a well
planned system to rehabilitate them educationally, economically and
Meanwhile, according to information, the Government
has focused its attention to reduce the LTTE’s remaining strength
internationally with the emergence of K.P. The LTTE, which was
reduced to zero locally, desperately tries to rise abroad, but
according to analysts, the attempts are not fruitful as the majority
of Tamils have no faith in the LTTE now.
The new Army Commander Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya
visited Jaffna last Friday and commended the contribution made by
soldiers in Jaffna to end the Wanni battle successfully. Lt. Gen.
Jayasuriya, who wants to lead the Sri Lanka Army to a new era with
professionalism and discipline, emphasized the need of maintaining
discipline among the soldiers and asked the soldiers not to tarnish
the image of the Army.
Three General Officers Commanding - Brig. Prasanna
Silva, Brig. Chagi Gallage and Brig. Shavendra Silva whose
contribution in the Wanni operation helped put an end to LTTE
terrorism, have been promoted to the rank of Major General by the
President Rajapaksa, early last week.
Forty six Colonels have also been promoted to the
rank of Brigadier considering their seniority and the contribution
to the Wanni battle. Colonels C.V. Ravipriya Nishantha
Wanniaarachchi, Mahinda Weerasoriya, Ralph Nugera, Athula Koddippili,
Sudath Perera, Shantha Dias, Suraj Bansajaya and Laksiri Waduge, who
were directly involved in the Wanni Operation, are among those
promoted to the rank of Brigadier.
With the promotions, several changes were brought
about last Friday. The former GOC of the 55 Division Maj. Gen.
Prasanna Silva has been appointed as the GOC of the 22 Division, and
the Deputy GOC 53 Division Brig. Sudath Perera has been appointed as
the GOC 55 Division. Brigadier Athula Koddippili, the former
Commander Special Forces (SF), has been appointed as the deputy GOC
53 Division. Colonel Harindra Ranasinghe took over duties as the
Commander SF. The former Commander Commando Brigade Brigadier Ralph
Nugera has been appointed as the GOC 23 Division, Lt. Colonel
Lalantha Gamage as Commander Commando Brigade.
Maj. Gen. Laksiri Ameratunge, Maj. Gen. Mahesh
Senanayake, Maj. Gen. Janaka Walgama Brigadier Sumith Padumadasa and
Brigadier Dampath Fernando have been posted to the Chief of Defence
Staff. The new Director General Intelligence is Maj. Gen. Janaka
Walgama and Brig. Amal Karunasekara, at present the Director
Military Intelligence, is also the Director Infantry. The former
Deputy GOC of the 55 Division Brig. C.D. Gunawardena has been
appointed as the Brigade Commander 571.
Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Navy too changed its
officers last week. Rear Admiral Somatilake Dissanayake is the new
Chief of Staff while Rear Admiral Susith Weerasekara is the Deputy
Chief of Staff.
He is also the Eastern Naval Commander.Rear Admiral
Jayanath Colambage has been appointed the Northern Naval Commander
and Rear Admiral Jayantha Perera the new Director Operations of the
Sri Lanka Navy; Commodore Ravi Wijegunaratne the Western Naval
Commander; Commodore Shirantha Udawatta head of the Naval Unit of
the Chief of Defence Staff; Commodores Rohan Amerasinghe, Rohana
Perera and Neil Rozairo as the Director General Training, Southern
Naval Commander and Director, Operations respectively.