Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya said that during the final phase of the war the army acted magnanimously and rescued more than 300,000 trapped civilians from the LTTE after demarcating the ‘No Fire Zone’ in Puthumathalan.
He insisted that had there been any deliberate intention of violating human rights the Security Forces would never have dared to bring the civilians into the safe area.
‘It is worthy of mentioning how our troops, despite numerous risks to their own lives and security, gave prominence to those rescued people trekking and did their maximum to relieve them of the initial burdens and misery, by whole-heartedly ensuring their right to life. Ours is the one and only Army in the world which has carried out the biggest ever rescue operation in the most humane manner, although all of them were coming from enemy-held areas. No other Army could boast of a parallel of an operation of this magnitude or nature in our contemporary history. How could then one finger at us, denying that factor and labeling us as they wished based on misleading accounts,’ the Commander said.
‘World powers like former Minister Milliband hurriedly arrived in Sri Lanka at that critical phase of the humanitarian operations and placed indescribable pressure on the government, asking HE the President to stop all ongoing operations forthwith. With due respect, I must mention here, that HE the President never bowed down to those pressures, nor did the Secretary Defence who stood by us. Their main concern was the safety and care that could be provided to those rescued people and people still were seeking refuge with Army troops. The government never underestimated the intensity of the catastrophe, instead almost everything we, the ground troops needed and projected on behalf of the influx of escapees, was readily provided or airlifted at the earliest. It is pertinent to know the whereabouts of those human rights watchdogs at that point of time or where they had gone,’ he said.