Mullaitivu: Remnants of Tiger Terrorism - Brought to an End
In Rome I met Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa. I remember that was in June 2008 and the Sri Lanka President was in Rome to participate in the FAO Conference.
I met the Sri Lanka President in his hotel suite and we discussed about the political situation in the country’ and during that meeting, President told me, “K.T. we are not going to waste our time anymore in negotiation with the LTTE. Already we have chased them out of the East and we will soon finish them in the North once and for all and end this terrorist menace in our country.”
I was taken up by his determination and the resolve. As LTTE was chased out of the East, President and his men thought it was easy to finish Prabhakaran and his men in the North too, once and for all.
In the beginning, I couldn’t come to terms with what the President said and was unable to comprehend that Sri Lankan Army would be able to defeat Prabhakaran and his men. I had this looming suspicion only in the beginning, but as the battle proceeded, I begin to learn that Prabhakaran was ill prepared to meet the onslaught of the war weary Sri Lankan armed forces.
Imagine at the end of the war, in May 2009, more than 10,000 LTTE cadres surrendering to the Sri Lankan Army.
Prabhakaran introduced Cyanide necklaces and gave it to his cadres to commit suicide in the event a cadre was about to be captured by the enemy – Sri Lankan armed forces.
But in May 2009, none of the LTTE cadres committed suicide by biting the cyanide capsule, instead they, lock stock and barrel surrendered to the Sri Lankan forces.
What went wrong? LTTE hype began to be exposed and there was a big gap between the leadership and the ordinary LTTE cadres who were conscripted against their wishes and again the wishes of their parents. There was no binding force to keep the cadres engaged. Their morale was too law and Prabhakaran failed to pull out any magic in the final stage of the battle.
I must record that I always hated violence. I am against any kind of killings either judicial or extra-judicial. I believe in nonviolence and agitations based on the principles of democracy and nonviolence. This believed caused me nearly 28 years out of Sri Lanka, on the run fleeing, but never I was afraid to resist the terrorist leaders and their stooges.
After seeing the Nanthikadal area where according to the Sri Lankan Army version LTTE Leader Prabhkaran was killed, my next stop was at the War Museum located at Manthuvil. There I saw weapons and ammunitions acquired from the LTTE and were on the display.
Also in front of the museum, in the open space were displayed all types of boats of the Sea Tigers.
I was able to see different varieties of suicide boats used by the Sea Tigers and in the museum there were many heavy and long artillery shells and ammunitions used to fire at ships.
When I visited the war museum, there were nearly three hundred Sinhalese visitors from the South of the country, who came in number of busses.
Each group of visitors had a Sri Lankan Army soldier to guide them and explain how those arms and ammunitions were used by LTTE to fight the Army.
I learnt that a big portion of the arms and ammunition acquired from the LTTE during the militant campaign has been transferred to Colombo for exhibition.
There were two cages made out of steel and were on display. Those were the cages where Prabhakaran kept his prisoners. They were made out of steel with pointed sharp steel pieces projecting and anyone who is imprisoned in those cages moves their a body slightly will be pierced by those pointed sharp protruding steel pieces.
Prabhakaran invented the most ruthless and beastly way of killing his enemies, by dumping them inside those cages.
After that we visited the training centre of the Sea Tigers at Pandiyanveli which is now situated within the 68 Division Battalion of the Sri Lanka Army.
From Pandiyanveli we again went to Manthuvil and from there we went to the subterranean fortress of Prabhakaran.
To go to the underground fortress one has to travel 3 km from Manthuvil to the Puthukkudyuruppu Junction and from there again nearly 1 km on the Odduchuddan road and take diversion in the jungle track about ½ km. When travelling in the jungle track one can observe taller trees and branches spread out and beneath the canopy of leaves it was all dark with the shrubs and bushes. Also from one point we travel in the tarred road up to the underground fortress of Parabakaran.
The Sri Lankan Army claims to have busted a bunker where Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Chief Velupillai Prabhakaran was supposed to be hiding.
It was an elaborately built underground bunker that Prabhakaran used for hiding.
The bunker was built inside a civilian settlement, among the houses of poor villagers and its entrance at the surface was disguised as one of the huts.
There was an amour plated container with air conditioning facility placed near the surface entrance of the bunker.
The deep entrance to the bunker is camouflaged as a Palmyra hut and a spiral staircase lead into the rooms below. Every care seems to have been taken not to draw the attention to the rural settlement.
The concrete bunker was cooled by an air conditioner kept in an armored container on the surface, again carefully hidden under a Palmyra thatching.
As deep as a four-storied building buried underground, this is one of the many bunkers said to have been used by the reclusive Tiger leader for over a decade since the Sri Lankan air force improved its precision bombing capabilities.
This brought an end to my visit to the remnants of the Tiger terrorism and with a heavy heart we left Mullaitivu via Odduchuddan, Paranthan junction and again on on the A 9 Road to Chunnakam.
- Concluded -
- Asian Tribune –