Army's human element saves teenage cadre's life
(By: Shanika Sriyananda)
She could have breathed her last in a few minutes or
would have been tucked with other dead bodies of her colleagues. Found
among 17 dead bodies, she sustained serious injuries in the stomach and
the left arm, but yet had the luck to live, thanks to the keen eyes of a
soldier, who is fighting a battle to liberate thousands of Tamils from
the brutal clutches of LTTE.
The fighting escalated at 5.30 am on last November 1,
as the LTTE was still holding ground at the A 32 Road towards Pooneryn.
An eight man team of the Delta Company of the 11th Sri Lanka Light
Infantry at the Task Force 1, led by Captain Lalantha Collurage was
taking their maximum effort to capture the LTTE bunkers at Paddaruyal
Villu between the 10th and 11th mile posts which is three and half kms
East of the Ponneryn - Mannar main road. After hours of long heavy
fighting using RPG attacks, the team managed to gain control of the
location in the wee hours killing 17 LTTE cadres.
While recovering dead bodies of the LTTE, soldiers
found a female cadre left with serious injuries and heavily bleeding.
The field medics gave her first aid. After regaining consciousness she
pleaded with the soldiers to give her some water. Later, she asked
something to eat saying they were left without food for days. Honouring
the moral values, the soldiers did not let her die and they treated her
as one of their colleagues and was given saline. She was then brought to
the nearest medical dressing station where she was treated. This girl
who was found lying unconsciously among the other dead bodies was in a
trench. Formally she was a cadre of the 'Yal-Selvam Paddai' and later
attached to the 'Malathi' regiment. She was a resident at Mulankavil
before being abducted by the LTTE. Trained in Jaffna, the 18-year-old
girl was brought to Paddaruyal Villu from Muhamalai forcibly. She was
blindfolded along with few other female cadres and just dropped at the
battlefronts and forced to fight with the advancing Security Forces.
The girl with her norm de guerilla 'Priya' was
abducted by the LTTE few months ago and was given a crash training on
weapon handling and basic battle training. She knew nothing about the
strength or the fighting capacity of the Security Forces. The teenage
girls and boys were shown heroic pictures of the LTTE cadres and had
been misled by saying that the LTTE would confront any battle against
the Security Forces. The young cadres were given an assurance that the
LTTE would win the battle and they are on a winning path. The LTTE, in
the verge of extinction, is still continuing forcible child recruitment
unabatedly also sowing seeds of hatred and separatism within the Wanni
Tamil community who are denied all possible communication links to know
the truth about the battle. The LTTE still maintains the human shield,
according to information, and is using cruel punishments against those
who try to flee the non-liberated areas. The outfit does not spare even
10-year-olds and the sources said the LTTE terrorists are now abducting
even small children for military fatigue while the other cadres are
being sent to battle fronts.
According to the sources, the LTTE is using the tactic
of deploying new recruits along the frontlines who were brought
blindfolded with less acquaintance of the terrain and left with no other
option except to fight for their survival against the advancing troops.
This tactic of the senior LTTE cadres using 'sacrifice of junior
numbers' as an instrument to sustain their own demise, has brought much
controversy triggering frustration and disgust among its grass-root
ranks. Priya had grenades and she did not bite the cyanide as she wanted
to live. Priya's story will be the best example to show the difference
between a professional army and a terrorist organisation. During the
Thoppigala operation, Sergeant K.G. Priyantha Pathirana was found with
serious injuries and was taken into LTTE as a POW. The LTTE terrorists,
including female cadres, treated him in an inhuman way before his neck
was cut while he was struggling for life. Later his head was displayed
at the Illupadichenai junction. But, the fate of Priya turned a new leaf
in her life and she will live to tell the difference.
The mission to rescue another 'human' in the
battlefront was a success due to the immediate action by the Task Force -1 troops
and 58 Division Commander Brigadier Shavendra Silva. The teenager was
given a new lease of life. It will be a showpiece to tell the world that
Sri Lanka is carrying out a humanitarian operation and not a battle
against those who were misled by the LTTE. Not only Priya but many LTTE
cadres who crossed to the liberated areas with serious injuries, were
also given medical treatment like the soldiers wounded in the
The highly disciplined soldiers carried Priya, more
than a kilometer from the point that they were fighting, to save the
life of another human being. They did not disregard international
humanitarian laws and even the soldiers in the front lines are well
aware about those values - not to kill even an enemy who is fighting for
life. Suffering from internal hemorrhage, Priya was carried in a
stretcher to the nearest Medical Dressing Station (MDS) where she was
given prompt treatment.
Then she was transported in an ambulance for over
eight kms to the main MDS where the military doctors of the Task Force -1 gave
her treatment for abdominal injuries.
Giving top priority, the teenage female cadre was
airlifted to the Anuradhapura General Hospital for further treatment as
she was badly injured. She was later transferred to the National
Hospital - Colombo, for further treatments. Priya now awaits a new begining
of freedom and life with the same 'foe' she was earlier forced to fight
with. Destiny has pronounced well as Priya was saved and given a new
hope of life by the same people whom she was taught (by LTTE) 'cruel'
and 'aggressive' to her community.
Courtesy : Sunday Observer