• Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Return to Sri Lanka: Indian soldier revisits a brutal battlefield

Discussion in 'Central & South Asia' started by Gibbs, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. Gibbs

    Gibbs SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    6,874
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Ratings:
    +9 / 10,716 / -2
    Country:
    Australia
    Location:
    Australia
    Article also reeks of hypocrisy both by the Indian establishment then and Western media outlets such as the BBC

    Return to Sri Lanka: Indian soldier revisits a brutal battlefield

    • 7 hours ago
    • From the section Indi


    [​IMG]
    copyright SURENDER SANGWAN
    The Indian Peace Keeping Force was tasked with overseeing a ceasefire between Tamil militants and the Sri Lankan government
    A 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka left at least 100,000 people dead on both sides of the conflict. In 1987, India sent a peacekeeping force, but it ended up getting drawn into the fighting. Thirty years on, BBC Hindi's Vineet Khare revisits the former battlefields of Sri Lanka with a retired Indian major-general who served there.

    The main hospital in the northern city of Jaffna is a clean, white building, bustling with activity. At first glance there is little to suggest that it was the site of a terrible human rights tragedy in October 1987.

    But inside it is a different story.

    I enter with retired Major General Sheonan Singh, who served with the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) that was sent to Sri Lanka to oversee a ceasefire with separatist militants from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who were fighting for a homeland for minority Tamils in the north.

    We see a wall lined with photographs. They are to commemorate nearly 60 people who died when soldiers, allegedly from the IPKF, fired at the hospital with heavy artillery, reportedly to flush out LTTE militants.

    [​IMG]
    A Devendram remembers his slain colleagues and hiding from the Indian soldiers

    [​IMG]
    The IPKF was accused of grave human rights violations, including an alleged attack on the main Jaffna hospital
    We meet A Devendram, a former employee of the hospital who was working there that day.

    "I ran and shut myself in that room for 24 hours," he says, pointing across a narrow corridor.

    "I could hear gunfire and staff shouting as they were being shot dead. I saw the men. They were Sikhs, wearing turbans and Indian army uniforms."

    Tamil rights activists in Jaffna say Indian troops were first fired at by four to five LTTE men from inside the hospital.

    India has always denied killing non-combatants but many say that Indian troops struggled to identify LTTE militants, who would mix among locals after carrying out attacks.

    [​IMG]
    Dr Ganeshmoorthy said the hospital "smelled of stale blood" after the attack
    Dr Ganeshmoorthy, who had been working there as an anaesthetist, reached the hospital three days after the incident.

    "When I walked in, it smelled of stale blood," he said.

    Surviving doctors told him that some of them had had to lie under corpses to avoid detection. If they moved or made any sound, they risked being shot, they told him.

    Mr Singh quietly listens to these accounts.

    "I was unaware of this incident. It seems information about it got suppressed and people (further up in the chain of command) didn't know of it," he says, as he stands in front of the pictures of the dead men and women.

    "I can only say what happened was bad. When the IPKF were being fired at, they didn't care who they were firing at. It is unfortunate but wherever military operations occur, these things happen," he says.

    This was one of a number of incidents that led to the eventual withdrawal of the IPKF, their image with the local population tarnished, and having lost 1,200 men.

    The nature of their departure was a far cry from that of their arrival in Jaffna in July 1987.

    [​IMG]
    Retired Major General Singh says he was unaware of the hospital attack by the IPKF
    When they arrived, many of the Indian soldiers were convinced that their mission would help Sri Lanka's Tamils. War was not on their minds.

    Stories abound of them going on shopping sprees for cheaper foreign electronic items - something many Indians craved back home.

    "Many of our units including artillery units landed without ammunition as they thought they were not needed on a peace mission," says Mr Singh.

    The IPKF, he says, had received no briefing about the dangers ahead, had no grid maps or any advance intelligence.

    But the Indian troops had landed in the middle of a particularly volatile environment.

    "When the IPKF arrived, Sri Lankan Tamils thought of them as saviours. They were welcomed. People felt they were being liberated from the Sri Lankan army," N Parameswaran, who was a university student in Jaffna in 1987, tells us.

    [​IMG]Image SURENDER SANGWAN
    But many Sri Lankans, including members of the government, were unhappy with what they saw as a bigger country interfering in the internal affairs of a smaller neighbour.

    Things took a particularly sour turn when the LTTE refused to disarm. They eventually turned against the Indian forces.

    The relationship between the two sides was initially very good.

    "Many of the LTTE cadres were known (to us) since they had been trained by our agencies. They would visit our military posts, which later helped them understand the layout of our presence while launching attacks against us," says Mr Singh.

    "Their weapons were also far superior. In fact we would hide ours so that they would not laugh.

    The IPKF was gradually drawn into a guerrilla war against the LTTE and ultimately launched a mission to capture their Jaffna stronghold in October 1987.

    [​IMG]
    Soldiers did not have proper ammunition and Mr Singh says the LTTE weapons were superior
    The assault was to begin at the Jaffna University grounds - a few kilometres from the IPKF headquarters at the Palali airbase. The ground today is a large expanse of green studded with multiple sports facilities.

    "Thirty years ago, it looked a jungle. This place has been cleared of bushes, thickets and a tree that stood here," he says.

    Major Singh and his men were tasked with clearing space for assault forces.

    But the LTTE had prior information of the IPKF assault and they opened fire on them from three sides.

    "We were being fired at from that building behind the water tank," he says, pointing at a building in the distance.

    The LTTE firing intensified as more Indian reinforcements arrived.

    [​IMG]
    There are tales that the Indian soldiers went shopping for electrical goods not available at home
    The battle raged for the next 24 hours. The IPKF lost 36 men that day.

    But 30 years on, Mr Singh says he is happy that peace has finally returned to Jaffna.

    As we drive around the city, one can't help but marvel at his memory.

    The geography of the region, the names of his contacts in other Tamil armed groups and conversations with LTTE leaders are still fresh in his mind.

    He is elated to see signs of development as he took pictures and videos to share with his former colleagues.

    "This was what we should have focused on 30 years ago."

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41377725

    @Godman @Saradiel @NGV-H @Nilgiri @nair @surya kiran @baajey @DESERT FIGHTER
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  2. Indika

    Indika SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,327
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Ratings:
    +5 / 4,131 / -15
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    IPKF was a stupid mission forced upon the military by the politicians like rajiv gandhi. They had no idea about ground situation. What was told be a easy vacation became a fight for survival. Situation was so horrible that LTTE was receiving support from lankan govt whom India wanted to disarm!
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. DESERT FIGHTER

    DESERT FIGHTER ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    42,275
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Ratings:
    +103 / 76,350 / -22
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Thats a little too much exaggeration.. SL Govt suporting LTTE..:lol:

    Initially LTTE was very friendly with indian troops... but behavior and subsequent killings (and massacred by indian troops of tamils and others) made them turn their guns at their own supporters.

    Meanwhile indian provincial govt of tamil nadu kept supporting LTTE...
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 4
  4. Indika

    Indika SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,327
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Ratings:
    +5 / 4,131 / -15
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    If you know facts comment , if not dont bother quoting me. I am not interested in your rubbish cheap troll post.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. Lord Of Gondor

    Lord Of Gondor FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    1,850
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,500 / -1
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    Good read from BR:
    The trial by fire for the Marcos started here.
    The "Crocodile":
    [​IMG]
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Windjammer

    Windjammer ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    28,692
    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Ratings:
    +119 / 83,994 / -3
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Capture.PNG
     
  7. DESERT FIGHTER

    DESERT FIGHTER ELITE MEMBER

    Messages:
    42,275
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Ratings:
    +103 / 76,350 / -22
    Country:
    Pakistan
    Location:
    Pakistan
    Cant digest the truth;

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Valvettiturai_massacre


    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffna_hospital_massacre

    2 examples.

    Which “commando unit” was involved in the tragic Jaffna university helidrop incident?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
    • Thanks Thanks x 5
  8. Lord Of Gondor

    Lord Of Gondor FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    1,850
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Ratings:
    +0 / 1,500 / -1
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    From the article in my earlier post,
    10 Para (Special Forces)
    [​IMG]
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  9. kvpak

    kvpak FULL MEMBER

    Messages:
    861
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2012
    Ratings:
    +0 / 347 / -0
  10. Indika

    Indika SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,327
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Ratings:
    +5 / 4,131 / -15
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    Truth and you are two opposite things. Dont quote me again with misleading arguments.

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/handing-over-arms-to-the-ltte/

    Formal talks between the Premadasa Government and the LTTE commenced in May 1989. Present at these sessions along with Premadasa, were Defence Secretary General Attygalle and cabinet ministers, among whom were, Ranjan Wijeratne, Wijayapala Mendis, Festus Perera, A.C.S. Hameed and Ranil Wickremesinghe. About July 1989 President Premadasa asked Attygalle to hand over to the LTTE a consignment of arms in accordance with a hand-written list, apparently given by the LTTE. Attygalle averred that this had not been discussed at the talks and that he had deleted heavy artillery and mortars from the list. He named Colonel T.M. Bohran and SSP Lionel Karunasena, Commandant STF, as among those who took part in arms deliveries and that Wanasinghe had got orders from his superior officers. The event also reveals Premadasa’s style of doing the important business secretively, through the back door.

    According to Colonel Bohran who was then the Army’s Civil Co-ordinating Officer at Weli Oya, Defence Secretary Attygalle had once called him and asked him to ‘turn a blind eye to the LTTE’s activities in Weli Oya and not to care about their attacks’. In effect, this meant, ignore attacks on Sinhalese settlers. Later, he was called by General Cyril Ranatunge, who was in charge of Operational Head Quarters, and sent to the Army Commander (Wanasinghe). Wanasinghe had asked him to hand over a consignment of arms to the LTTE and keep it a secret. The total consignment passed on through several points included a thousand or more rifles, several hundred thousand rounds of ammunition, hundreds of RPGs etc. The Defence Ministry also cleared imports for the LTTE, which included communication spares, along with handcuffs and finger cuffs for its famous detention camps.

    [​IMG]
    Formal talks between the Premadasa Government and the LTTE commenced in May 1989

    Attygalle claimed that Premadasa had told him that the weapons given to the LTTE were meant to neutralise the Tamil National Army set up with conscripts by the IPKF. Bohran had on the other hand testified that Deputy Defence Minister Ranjan Wijeratne had told him that the arms were meant to attack the IPKF as happened in Valvettithurai and Mannar in early August 1989. In Valvettithurai, the LTTE leader’s hometown, the LTTE breached an unofficial cease-fire in firing at an Indian Army patrol. There were reprisals against civilians by the IPKF, after which Ranjan Wijeratne went there to commiserate with the civilians. The Indians knew of the weapons handover.

    The incident reveals how a President acting on astoundingly foolish political calculations could subvert the interests of the country and the Army by working through a defence establishment where real power was in the hands of retired generals, whose positions depended on the President’s will and pleasure. Note also how the operation was carried out in violation of proper channels of communication. General Ranatunge and Deputy Defence Minister Wijeratne had dealt directly with Colonel Bohran and the Army Commander Wanasinghe asked Bohran to do the job, by- passing his brigadier and major general, and asked him to keep it secret.

    One also sees a certain cynicism here. Bohran is non-Sinhalese and belongs to a small minority group, and so makes a good scapegoat. He has been something of the Army’s scavenger, who had served long in Weli Oya, one of the Army’s dirtiest postings. Major Bohran was there in 1984 when, by intention, the convict settlers at Kent and Dollar Farms were harassing Tamil civilians and raping women, and then during the LTTE massacre. Five years later Colonel Bohran gave weapons to the LTTE in the same place. There was a military debacle in the region in November 1999 when Bohran was brigadier and again turned out to be a handy scapegoat. But it was not Bohran’s fault that communication channels in the Army had become muddled after many years of anarchy.

    But more importantly, Wanasinghe and Bohran could have, unlike the retired generals, refused to handover arms to the LTTE. No action could have been taken against them, except perhaps to deny them the plums of post- retirement employment. Wanasinghe knew it was inimical to the Army’s interest to break relations with the IPKF in such a treacherous manner. Moreover, all those involved were collectively guilty of some of the gravest crimes. It involved handing over weapons belonging to the security forces to a potential enemy and the act in itself marked also the gravest breach of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, apart from the normal law and army regulations.

    That it was done on the orders of the late President does not reduce their guilt in any way. The courts would not take a kinder view of a civilian who claims that he planted a bomb because his father, or even the President, had asked him to. The system may not have minded throwing Bohran to the wolves, although he did only the menial part. Despite the difficult years Bohran has put in at Weli Oya, there is no memorial to mark his service. Others have stolen the limelight. Weli Oya has a General Kobbekaduwe Street, a Colonel Janaka Perera Street and several more monuments named after the last personage. Bohran was to be seen and not heard.
     
  11. Gibbs

    Gibbs SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    6,874
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Ratings:
    +9 / 10,716 / -2
    Country:
    Australia
    Location:
    Australia
    Quoting one man's (Ranjan Hoole, A Vellaya Jaffna Tamil) opinion on a very complex matter doesn't make it the gospel truth either, Not denying the Premadasa regime gave arms to the LTTE, But that was to stop a bigger threat, The Tamil National Army, An attempt by the Indian establishment to decimater the now turned turn coats LTTE, Once Breast fed by Indira Gandhi and to take control over the Northern Sri Lankan territory with the LTTE decimated and with the SL forces withdrawn to the South.. Premadasa and Wijeratne foresaw this latest hegemonic attempt by India and took necessary action.. The enemy of your enemy kind of thing

    All the propaganda of the SL forces turning a blind eye to LTTE massacres of Sinhalese villages in their hundreds is nothing but heresay and an attempt to whitewash LTTE crimes.. Most of the personal in the armed forces those days came from these very same border village areas that the Tamil terrorists use to massacre.. It would have been unthinkable

    The IPKF killed scores of Tamil civilians, Some wittingly others as collateral damage.. But some Indians have the gall to point fingers at Lankan forces that fought one of the most vile terror groups ever known who forced pregnant women and children to be human bombs.. Hypocrisy unbound
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  12. NoOne'sBoy

    NoOne'sBoy BANNED

    Messages:
    809
    Joined:
    May 2, 2017
    Ratings:
    +0 / 507 / -1
    Country:
    Sri Lanka
    Location:
    Germany
    never forget one of our homeboys tried to kill rajiv ghandi by attacking with the rifle. homeboy deserve a statue
     
  13. Indika

    Indika SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,327
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Ratings:
    +5 / 4,131 / -15
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    The argument was whether LTTE was helped by Sri lankan govt or not ? Answer that instead of writing a long winded misleading argument.

    There were mistakes made on all the sides no denying that but to end up blaming India alone is utterly ridiculous. You can dig further and find more atrocities committed by your own country men instead of conveniently blaming others.

    @manlion @kvpak
     
  14. Gibbs

    Gibbs SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    6,874
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Ratings:
    +9 / 10,716 / -2
    Country:
    Australia
    Location:
    Australia
    Lol.. So you tag two headless chicken with massive identity crisis, To back your point up ? Thats the height of desperation dude.. :lol:

    No one blamed India for the civil conflict, The ember were lit by Lankan polity both Sinhala and Tamil but as for the cross border terrorism ? Yes India is solely to blame, RAW were the pioneers of it.. Way before India started crying foul over Kashmir.. Maybe its karma.. :rolleyes:
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  15. Indika

    Indika SENIOR MEMBER

    Messages:
    3,327
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2015
    Ratings:
    +5 / 4,131 / -15
    Country:
    India
    Location:
    India
    you still dint answer the question on who supported and armed the LTTE and choose to deviate from it.


    I tagged others to get a different opinion, what makes you think you are the sole source of truth?