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Selected Writings by Sachi Sri Kantha
30 January 2008
If you have missed it, first you should read the news report entitled ‘LTTE shells Palaly’ which appeared in the Colombo Daily Mirror of Jan. 29th, under the by-line of Sunil Jayasiri. By any bit of imagination, one cannot assign this reporter as sympathetic to LTTE. Provided below is the unabridged transcript. I also take the liberty of reproducing the graphic which accompanied this newsreport. Then, I provide a skeleton of essential discussion (which could have taken place in that aircraft) that has been omitted by reporter Jayasiri.
“An aircraft carrying a top level defence delegation led by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was forced to return to Colombo yesterday after the LTTE launched a barrage of attacks on the Palaly military base minutes before the aircraft was due to land, a defence official said.
He said the others in the delegation including Chief of Defence Staff Donald Perera and Army Chief Sarath Fonseka were scheduled to attend a ceremonial opening at Palaly of the latest military unit --- the Mechanized Infantry Division (MID).
“Minutes before the Russian built AN-32 air craft carrying VIPs was to land, the LTTE began firing on the northern military base and its surroundings from the Tiger’s Kalmunai Point forcing the aircraft to abandon its mission and return to the Katunayake Airport,” the senior official said.
He said shells had fallen in the Milady and Ariyalai areas – just outside the Palaly runway, but no damage or casualties have been reported.
“Some of the artillery shells did not explode and the military had defused them,” the official said.
He said this latest development on the war front had led to the temporary suspension of flights to the Palaly air force base with the military retaliating with heavy artillery fire at LTTE positions in the Pooneryn area.
Military spokesman Udaya Nanayakkara confirmed shelling by the LTTE and said action had been taken to neutralize its gun positions.
He said air force jets bombed LTTE gun position at Kalmunai Point – north of Pooneryn from where the terrorists fired artillery rounds towards the troops.
“Jets pounded LTTE-artillery launching pad, two and half hours after rebels directed artillery fire towards Palaly,” Brigadier Nanayakkara said.
He denied that an aircraft carrying a top-level delegation was prevented from land due to the bombing.
In February last year the LTTE shelled the 53rd division headquarters while a discussion was underway on the formation of the Mechanized Infantry Division.
The Mechanized Infantry Division (MID) was subsequently launched under the patronage of the Jaffna Security Force Commander G.A. Chandrasiri.”
The Discussion that could have led to aborting the Palaly landing