Help those brave soldiers
It was exactly 14 months ago when Sri Lanka's valiant Security
Forces eradicated terrorism and liberated thousands of innocent
civilians from the jaws of LTTE terror. These acts of bravery by the
true sons of our soil liberated the country after three decades of
The freedom and peaceful environment we enjoy today had been made
possible due to the laudable efforts of the Security Forces. The
Government had to beat all overwhelming odds to give the fullest support
to the Security Forces. Certain countries, international organisations
and a section of the Tamil Diaspora did everything within their power to
exert pressure on the Government to slow down the victory march of the
With the sagacious political leadership of President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, the Commander-in-Chief of the Security Forces, the brave
soldiers vanquished the LTTE leadership and ushered in peace to the
It was a gigantic task to destroy the world's most ruthless terror
outfit. Apart from taking the Tigers lock, stock and barrel in the
Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu jungles and overpowering the terrorists, the
country had to face tremendous international pressure until the end of
the last battle in the Nandikadaal lagoon.
Even at present, certain LTTE sympathisers abroad are making a
concerted effort to take the brave soldiers before an international war
crimes tribunal. It is deplorable that the man who commanded the ground
forces overall at one time is now attempting to take these soldiers
before an international war crimes tribunal. The retired General who
marched from grace to disgrace, through his treacherous acts due to his
lust for power, has provided enough and more ammunition to certain
international organisations which are attempting to take Sri Lanka to
In contrast, President Rajapaksa has vowed to defend the Security
Forces and take upon himself all charges. In doing so, the President has
demonstrated in no small measure the qualities of a true leader.
President Rajapaksa, his Government and Defence Secretary Gotabaya
Rajapaksa are striving to provide a better tomorrow for the families of
war heroes and those serving in the Security Forces.
Unlike during the UNP regime, the Government has made every endeavour
to take good care of the Security Forces and their families. Many
projects have been implemented under the personal supervision of the
Defence Secretary for the benefit of the members of the Security Forces
and their families who have made immense sacrifices on behalf of our
The nation will always remember the supreme sacrifices made by our
brave soldiers and the hardships faced by their families. The Widows'
and Orphans' Pension Fund (W&OP) Amendment Bill passed in Parliament
last week is a boon for the widows of war heroes.
Many young women who were married to Security Forces personnel lost
their breadwinners in the operations launched to quell terrorism. These
widows, some of whom were in their early twenties and others with young
children, were reluctant to marry again as they would have had to forgo
their pensions thereafter under the provisions of the Widows' and
The welcome news is that according to the new Act passed on Thursday,
widows of public servants and members of the Armed Forces would also
receive half of the pension even if they were to re-marry. Moreover, the
children of their first marriage would also get a proportion of the
pension. This is no doubt a praiseworthy move and the families of the
members of the Security Forces could breathe a sigh of relief.
Another commendable move to salute the true sons of our soil is the
massive housing programs that have been implemented in various stages.
On Monday, President Rajapaksa handed over the keys of 25 houses built
in Senarathgama, Kandy under the first phase of the program launched to
construct 700 housing units for war heroes under the Api Wenuwen Api
The beneficiaries of the Api Wenuwen Api program are families of war
heroes who were either killed or maimed while serving in the battlefront
to defend the motherland.
Unfortunately, public contributions to the Api Wenuwen Api Fund have
dropped significantly after the Security Forces won the battle against
terror, whereas it should have been vice versa.
Hence, it is time the corporate sector and the public at large pay
greater attention to the program which is not only a worthy cause but
also pays tribute to the Security Forces for the freedom that we all
The mental agony we experienced in sending children to schools and
the people who thought twice before coming to Colombo due to LTTE bomb
explosions is indelibly edged in our memory. Our courageous soldiers
sacrificed their life and limb to provide a safer future for us.
It is true that we cannot match those magnificent sacrifices but we
could certainly salute those war heroes by contributing to the Api
Wenuwen Api Fund, thereby showing our profound gratitude for the immense
contribution by the Security Forces and untold hardships experienced by
them during the battle against terror.
Gratitude and thankfulness are two inherent qualities that have been
greatly associated with our culture and we see no reason as to why we
cannot strengthen the Fund and ensure a secure future for the families
of the Security Forces. It is our bounden duty to protect the families
of war heroes who had made the supreme sacrifice to safeguard Mother
Lanka's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Every cent contributed to the Api Wenuwen Api Fund would go directly
to purchase raw materials such as cement, bricks, sand, timber, roofing
sheets and toilet fittings to construct houses. There would be no
administrative costs or construction charges involved as the members of
the Security Forces would provide the labour to build these houses.
Contributors are assured that the funds will be channelled directly for
a worthy cause.
All Sri Lankans, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, should
contribute lavishly to secure the future of our valiant Security Forces.