In another stage in the process of releasing civilians’ properties used by the Army, five Battalions withdrew from 23 houses in 51 Division area on Saturday (25).
Headquarters and company bases of 9th Sri Lanka National Guard (9SLNG), 23rd Gajaba Regiment (23 GR), 25th Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (25 VIR), 11th Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment (11 SLSR) and 14thGemunu Watch (14 GW) were shifted to new camps handing back those houses to respective Divisional Secretaries in the presence of the owners.
General Officer Commanding 51 Division Brigadier Chula Abeynayake, Commander 511 Brigade Colonel Priyanka Fernando and Civil Affairs Officer 513 Brigade Lieutenant Colonel Sarath Amarasinghe handed over the documents with regard to release of the properties to Mr. S. Muralitharan, Mr. M. Pratheepan, Mr. Nantha Gopalan and Ms. S. Theivendran, Divisional Secretaries of Santhilppay, Thelippalai, Uduvil and Jaffna.
Process of releasing civilians’ properties in Jaffna was expedited on directives of the present Security Forces Commander (Jaffna) Major General Udaya Perera.
Appreciating the service of outgoing Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe to Jaffna and it’s people, a large gathering of civilians were present at Vasavilan on Saturday (04).
Religious leaders, senior government and private sector officials, representatives of deferent community organizations, who gathered on the occasion organized prior to the departure of Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe to take over his new appointment as Adjutant General of Army Headquarters, invoked blessings and appreciated his service extended to needy people of Jaffna and commended his successful effort to establish peace in Jaffna.
Addressing the well-wishers present, Commander Security Forces – Jaffna (SF – J) recalled his cherished memories with peace loving people in Jaffna and expressed his delight over the rapid development taking place in Jaffna. He further said, we must not adopt or foster divisive ideologies, and instead we must work towards sustainable peace for a better country where our future generations could live in peace and harmony.
Mr. Dharmakulasingham, a retired senior diplomatic official giving vote of thanks specially mentioned about the cordial relationship that developed between the military and the civilians during the tenure of Major General Hathurusinghe as the SF-J Commander.
People showing their solidarity and friendliness garlanded outgoing Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe and presented him mementos and wished him all the best in his future endeavors.
Four years after the conclusion of conflict, Sri Lanka still has a long way to go to achieve Reconciliation. This is unfortunate, given the enormous efforts made by government to improve facilities for the people most affected by war. But it is not surprising that, as indicated by the results of the last election held in the Northern Province, we have failed to win hearts and minds.
That would not have been difficult had a concerted effort been made. But this requires planning, and unfortunately planning is not something Sri Lanka has been good at. For over three decades now, we have tended to respond to events or rather to crises. The one exception was the care with which, in the period after 2005, we approached the conflict, with all branches of government working together and care taken to ensure the dissemination of clear and convincing information. Following the conclusion of the conflict however all that broke down, and propaganda, often based on parochial electoral considerations, took over, with little attempt at intelligent analysis of ground realities.
Thus we seemed to believe that reconstruction alone would suffice, and reconstruction that placed a premium on cement rather than people. This is on par with the worst delusions of capitalism as elevated into a political philosophy, the assumption that prosperity will trickle down. But this does not work, and Sri Lanka may in the end have to pay heavily for the failure to conceptualize with sensitivity of those who took on responsibility only for construction and not for consultation, who concentrated only on resettlement and not rather on restoration.