President Maithripala Sirisena today pledged not to allow terrorism to raise its head again and leave no room for crisis that could lead to a conflict.
“Though the physical development in the war torn areas were accelerated, there was no proper mechanism to improve the reconciliation. The mission of the new Government is to boost the development and also to improve reconciliation,” the President told the Remembrance Day ceremony held in Matara.
He said: “After the war victory, efforts were taken only to develop physical resources such as infrastructure, buildings and transport.
Unfortunately, in the post-conflict era no one took the pains to rebuild the shattered souls and minds of the people and a genuine re-conciliation process was absent. Nevertheless, the new government will give priority to reconciliation and development.
“When we direct attention to criticism levelled against the government by our political adversaries, it is quite clear that extremism is still strong and active. Those who attempt to create division and mistrust among communities are operating in Sri Lanka and in many other countries freely. Therefore, the government is committed to negate the charges levelled against the government while strengthening the armed forces and making it robust and security centered.
The Remembrance Day or Ranaviru Commemorative Day marks the restoration of peace and the protection of our territorial integrity and our national heritage after wiping out the menace of separatist terrorism from Sri Lanka’s soil. All Sri Lankans have suffered immensely from terrorism and the people are well aware of its horrors. Terrorism is a tool that suppresses humanity and truth. It sheds blood and destroys peace and the loss of tens of thousands of lives. The country was saved from this mayhem by the Police and the Armed Forces personnel many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice for their motherland.
From the 1980s to 2009, Sri Lanka and all Sri Lankans faced the dreaded clutches of terrorism. We heard nothing but tragedy after tragedy during this dark period.
Development was at a standstill and very little hope for our people. That is why the police and armed forces personnel who placed their lives at risk to save the country from total destruction deserve the respect and appreciation of the entire nation. Today, we all once against honour and offer our gratitude and respect for what they did for the country.
We would have failed in our duty if we forget to turn the searchlight inwards to identify the causes that led to terrorism in our country and the resultant 30-year war. What we can remember is that the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims live like one family and treated each other as brothers and sisters. There were true patriots at the time who kept the nation united while all national leaders irrespective of their ethnicity fought for independence in 1948 with the blessings of all communities. But there was no real effort to establish real reconciliation after independence and the final result was that separatist terrorism got the upper hand in this country.But once against we have to ask ourselves whether we have done anything substantial to achieve true reconciliation among all communities after the war victory on May 19, 2009. The answer is a disappointing ‘no’.
The circumstances that led to the final battle to save the motherland from terrorism centered on water at Mavil Aru and the concluding victory also achieved on May 19, 2009 was in water at the Nandikadal lagoon. The government will never dodge its responsibility or mitigate the sacrifices made by our war heroes with reconciliation the ultimate target.
The basic requirement to establish reconciliation is to promote trust, confidence and eliminate fear in the minds of all communities. That is why the government gives top priority to promote reconciliation it gives to development.
The government treats the ‘Ranaviru Commemoratin Day as an occasion to commemorate all those who lost their lives in the separatist war. We also consider it as the day, on which sustainable peace was re-established in Sri Lanka. The government will do everything possible to rebuild the shattered lives of people and through welfare and social responsibility programmes. The government’s utmost objective is to prevent another war and to improve the living conditions of the people and the government is confident that Sri Lanka will reach that goal sooner than later with unity, trust and mutual respect of all communities.”(Sadun A. Jayasekara)