- Published on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 10:12
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'During the last stage of the war, the LTTE set up its artillery positions within civilian encampments and fought amidst the civilians, often dressed in civilian attire. This was a very challenging situation for the Armed Forces, which acted with great restraint and suffered considerable losses in their efforts to minimize civilian casualties.
The use of heavy weaponry was curtailed and then stopped outright. The minimum amount of necessary force was used at all times to ensure that harm to civilians and civilian property was minimized. However, the LTTE had no compunctions about putting civilians deliberately in harm's way, and its cadres mercilessly shot at all civilians who tried to escape into Government controlled areas' said Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa making the keynote address at a function of Serendip Coast Festival 2013 yesterday morning (25th March 2013) at Hotel Lighthouse in Galle.
The book 'Gota's War', authored by veteran journalist C.A. Chandraprema was the main theme of the function in order to bestow a comprehensive inspiration of the book and thirty years of LTTE terror to the entire world. The book is a completion of introspective events that led to the crushing of Tamil Tiger Terrorism in Sri Lanka.
The event was organized by the founder of Galle literary festival Mr. Geoffrey Dobbs.
Addressing the gathering Secretary Defence emphasized the importance of organizing such events in order to show the ground reality of Sri Lanka to the international communities and it's rather different from what is often reported about this country. He also said that the progress is being achieved by the country after the war is remarkable.
Describing his recent visit to Jaffna peninsula Mr. Rajapaksa stated that His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and he could able to move freely in the peninsula and that exemplifies the peace, stability and security that exist in every part of the country after the defeat of terrorism in May 2009.
Recalling the atrocities done by LTTE he stated that unfortunately, some people seem to have forgotten the situation Sri Lanka was in before the dawn of peace. He also stressed the Economic targets which were attacked ruthlessly, including the Oil Refinery at Kolonnawa, power plants at Kelanitissa and Kerwalapitiya, International Air Port at Katunayake and the Central Bank in 1996.
Explaining the beginning of the humanitarian operation which launched to liberate the hundreds of thousands of people in the North and East from the LTTE's dominance he expressed the causes for the Maavilaru operation in 2006.
"Paramount reason behind the elimination of terrorism was His Excellency the President's unshakeable determination to fulfill his mandate and free Sri Lanka from terrorism once and for all", secretary Defence elaborated. He also stressed the way that the Sri Lankan government overcome the international interferences during the period of war.
Describing the present scenario of the former theater he explained the demining process, resettlement process of the IDPs and ex LTTE combatants, housing projects and other development programmes in the area. He also said that the rest of the country too, has benefited tremendously from the restoration of peace and stability.
Summing up his speech he said that everyone has benefited from the defeat of terrorism and Sri Lanka is one of the most peaceful and stable countries in the world, and if we stand united as Sri Lankans and as friends of Sri Lanka, we will together unleash the immense potential that this country has.
The Secretary also took part in a question and answer session and responded to queries raised by the participants.
Office bearers of the Serendip Coast Festival and a large number of foreign and local delegates were present at the occasion.