Major General Shavendra Silva in a lecture delivered at the Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka last Thursday on the ‘The Battle of Nandikadal – Strategy and Tactics’ said the longest ever trek made by the Sri Lanka Army’s 58th Brigade which he headed, was a path strewn with mines and booby traps over two hundred kilometres.
“It was the world’s biggest humanitarian rescue operation and we made history. All the victories were not achieved easily but with supreme sacrifice made by a large number of our youth who had joined the Armed Forces from the poorest of the poor families. Some gave their sight, some their limbs, some became completely disabled for life, Maj. Gen. Silva said. He said the objective of every soldier on the battlefield was one and there was no fear in them.
“When there was rain civilians sent us tarpaulins, when there was heavy rain Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sent heaters to dry the soldiers’ uniforms. Everyone worked as one with the Armed Forces. It was the country’s leadership that made the decisions promptly and at the correct time that enabled us to win the war against terrorism,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Silva recalled that the LTTE leader not only assassinated Sinhala political leaders but also Tamil political leaders culminating in the assassination of former Indian Premier Rajiv Gandhi.
He used slides during the lecture to demonstrate scenes from the battlefield.
He also thanked the media for the great service they rendered during the war for playing an important role.
The academic event was followed by a question and answer session.
One of the questions was from a former Presidential candidate and Sinhale Mahasammatha Bhoomiputhra Party leader Dr. Harishchandra Wijetunga.
He said he had heard that more than 3,500 women crossed over from the LTTE controlled areas and many of them were pregnant while others had children. He said there was a woman as young as 19 years with six children (meaning that every year the woman had a child).
His question was whether Maj Gen Silva could enlighten the gathering as to who the fathers of these children were. He wanted to know whether this was a move to increase the strength of the LTTE. Maj Gen Silva he said he could not answer this particular question.