Merit attained in past birth led to my release, says sailor

By Mohamed Issarrudeen

A sailor who was freed from LTTE custody with the liberation of the area he was held prisoner, told The Sunday Times that he was unaware of what was happening around him until quite recently.

G H Chaminda Kumara Hewage from Galewela, who was taken into custody by the LTTE two years ago, found himself a free man after the security forces liberated the area he was being held prisoner.

When his village heard the good news of his escape, the villagers celebrated the event, with the lighting of crackers and rejoicing in the streets. When we visited him at his home, he had no words to describe how lucky he was and attributed his release to merit attained in his past birth.

Chaminda Kumara

Recalling the incident leading to his arrest he said he was then on board his vessel, a V 461 Dvora craft, providing security to a ship carrying food to the North. He said the Tigers fired at his vessel forcing him and two others to jump overboard. While swimming to safety he was taken prisoner by the Tigers.

He said he was taken to Kilinochchi and presented to Pulidevan in the peace secretariat there. Taken first to hospital, he and others were later imprisoned but they were able to learn of the security situation in the country by listening to the radio. But later that facility was withdrawn and they did not know what was happening in the country.

He said the LTTE had not objected to their religious practices while they were in prison. He said when the security forces captured Kilinochchi they were shifted to Mullaitivu in a container and imprisoned. On May 17 when the Army attacked Nandikadal the Tigers ran away and the soldiers freed him from captivity. He was brought to the Army camp in Vavuniya from where he was flown to Ratmalana by air. He was full of praise for the President who saved the country from terror and thanked others who were responsible in saving the nation.

Hewage is the son of G H Karunasena and A D Wimalawathie. After his education at the village MMV he joined the Navy in 1997. He married 25-year-old Indika Kumari and has a five-year-old son named Rukshan.

Speaking about his release Kumari said that after she heard that her husband had gone missing in a Tiger attack, she had gone to all places of worship to pray for him. God had heard her prayer and brought him home. Her appeals to the Tigers for his release fell on deaf ears, she said.

She was grateful to his service comrades who brought him back home. His mother recalled the day he left after worshipping her. She did not see him thereafter till his release now. She too had prayed for his return home. She too thanked his service comrades who saved him and brought him home at last. She showered her gratitude on the Service Chiefs, the President and others involved in the

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