August 11, capturing Mavil Aru :

Operation ‘Watershed’ - turn of tides

August 11, 2020

Mavil Aru, a tributary of the Mahaweli river that fed thousands of agricultural lands and supply drinking water to over  15,000 villagers in the Eastern province remained as just another normal river that flowed through Kallar until July 21, 2006.

But, today Mavil Aru is a name of a river where the military kept its firm strides to end terrorism in the Eastern Sri Lanka, where its military launched the first humanitarian operation to quench the thrust of thousands of people whose basic right for water was denied by the terrorists.

With closing Mavil Aru anicut’s sluice gates by the now defunct LTTE on July 21, 2006, the then Government commenced its rigorous military thrust into the LTTE domination.

On August 11, it marks the 14th commemoration of the liberation of the Mavil Aru sluice gates from the LTTE terrorists.

On July 21, 2006, the irrigation engineer, in charge of the Mavil Aru sluice gate complex, received several reports of an unusual reduction of water flow through the irrigation scheme's distributing canals that provide water for people of 20 different villages. The engineer having proceeded to inspect the gate to ascertain the matter of concern had been stopped by the LTTE at gunpoint approximately a kilometre behind the sluice gate complex.



While over 15,000 innocent villagers were pleading for drinking water and the LTTE blocking free flow of all water ways to over 30,000 acres of paddy lands, the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who pledged to sweep terrorism to liberate the Eastern province, ordered the military to capture Mavil Aru.

The military push comprehensively and strategically planned with the support of the then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the experienced Tri-Forces commanders, was launched not to end by capturing Mavil Aru but to continue until the LTTE terrorism was crushed totally at the Nandikadal on May 19,2009.

With the beginning of military offensives, the LTTE attacked villages in Muttur, Kattaparichchan, Selvanagar, Mahindapura and Pahala Thoppur. It made a large number of people displaced but after two weeks of heavy fighting, the troops gained full control of the area.

On July 26, 2006, the Sri Lanka Air Force carried-out precision air sorties targeting identified LTTE positions in and around Mavil Aru and Kallaru. The Army was deployed on July 28, 2006, with troops consisting of infantry and elite forces supported by amour, artillery and affiliated technical and combat support units.

14 years ago on August 11, 2006, the Mavil Aru sluice gates were opened by soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army releasing water to people irrespective of their ethnicity.

Liberating Mavil Aru is a mile stone in the strategic military thrust to end terrorism from the Lankan soil as it was the first humanitarian operation in the battle of the Eelam IV war that defeated the LTTE terrorism from the country.