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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 74

While others praise Thoppigala victory Ranil Wickremesinghe says it is nothing to crow about

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 12 July, ( In the midst of roaring laughter of his supporters the Leader of the Opposition and the United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe belittled the government’s claim of a great military victory at Thoppigala and said it was nothing big to crow about.

“What’s all this fuss about Thoppigala. It’s nothing to crow about,” he told a public gathering in Galle. The meeting was broadcast by the Independent Television Network run by the state with other interviews condemning his statement.

But in a different interview Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) military spokesman Rasiah Ilantheriyan admitted that the LTTE has received a defeat.

Ilantheriyan in an interview with Roland Burke of the BBC when asked whether the LTTE has received a defeat said that , “In a way yes. From a point of view it is a defeat.” since the government forces have gained a greater control of the Eastern Province.

Ranil Wickremesinghe in contrast said Thoppigala is only a big jungle bigger than the Colombo District. He asked “how many times we captured that area.”

But his one time supporter and presently government minister Rajitha Senaratne attacked him saying that his failure to appreciate the military victory of dedicated men in the armed forces showed one reason he cannot ever win an election. Senaratne said , “ There is no body who cannot appreciate the victory of the armed forces who won with much dedication and hard work. Only a traitor could not appreciate such a victory. He said today, the victory could be shown in contrast to the defeats of greater armies in Iraq and Britain by terrorist tactics.

Contradicting the Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, Senior lawyer and author on the various books of the LTTE, S.L. Gunasekera said the chasing out of the Tigers out of Thoppigala will go into the history of Sri Lanka as a great achievement of the war heroes of the Sri Lanka Army and other forces.

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna spokesman Wimal Weerawansa said the whole nation should salute our dedicated armed forces for the capture of Thoppigala. He said the army by capturing Thoppigala has once again proved that the LTTE could be defeated despite the arguments of the NGO sponsored men who preach that that the LTTE, a Fascist force can never be defeated. He said a terrorist group without popular support of the masses cannot a go a long way.

But Rasiah Ilantheriyan warned the Sri Lanka government and said it should not take the retreat of the LTTE forces from conventional face to face war in the Thoppigala area as an end of the war in the area. He said hereafter the LTTE would restart the confrontations using guerilla tactics.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa in address to the nation said, “I join the people in offering tribute and all good wishes to the members of the Armed Forces, Police and Special Task Force who, through their participation in the humanitarian exercise to free the people of the East from the clutches of terrorism, captured the last stronghold of the terrorists located at Thoppigala.

I remember with honor all heroes of war and members of the families of those who sacrificed their lives or were wounded in this exercise carried out on behalf of the country and nation. May you be blessed by the Triple Gem!”

Ilantheriyan further told the BBC that the LTTE has withdrawn from the face to face warfare in the Eastern province and it is true the Sri Lanka forces are in greater control of the province and they could any further provide protection for the majority of the Tamils there. But he said, from the time of J.R. Jayewardene it has been proved that the government cannot capture or keep Northern and Eastern provinces forever. He said it should be warned that they could never be able to capture Kilinochchi or Mulativu.

- Asian Tribune -

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