Upon his arrival at the Palay airport, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Commander, Security Forces – Jaffna extended a hearty welcome and conducted him to the SFHQ-J premises. As he entered, a drive-pass greeted him before he was invited to the parade ground. Afterwards, the Parade Commander reported the day’s parade to the visiting Army Chief who reviewed it in conformity with military formalities before the salute of the Guard of Honour, accorded on his behalf by Sri Lanka Light Infantry troops was taken from the special dais.
During the subsequent meeting, Major General Jagath Kodithuwakku, Commander, Security Forces – Jaffna submitted a detailed account on current developments, security concerns, community development roles, nation-building projects and other matters of concern in the north to the visiting General Shavendra Silva. At the end of the interaction, his visit was made memorable by all of them posing for a group photograph at the SFHQ-J premises.
A few minutes later, the visiting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army addressed tri-service Officers and Other Ranks serving the Jaffna peninsula under the SFHQ-J. During his address, the Commander highlighted the importance of special duties all tri-service troops are engaged in the peninsula and thanked all of them for sustenance of the status quo soon after the troops eradicated terrorism from the country.
“Different elements in the North in order to suit their agendas and other advantages are trying their best to change the mindset of the common masses living in the peninsula but the Tamil community here is well aware of tireless services, being rendered by you all despite their misleading utterances and the troops, not deterred by such attempts continue to pay the same attention on the Jaffna masses, like how they did even during the period of humanitarian operations. While showing the dignity associated with your job, you have done an enormous service here,” General Shavendra Silva remarked.
“During the recent apex of COVID-19 pandemic, you all without taking due leave periods or considering the gravity of own risks, involved in the control of its spread, sacrificed a lot to maintain quarantine centres and establish makeshift camps, ICCs, lockdown restrictions, isolation areas, road blocks and also by introducing a unique quarantine process, quite particular to Sri Lanka. More importantly, the national vaccination project, now a success at all levels, was actively carried out by you. Despite those burning requirements, you conducted ground patrol work, apprehended illegal narcotics and smugglers, controlled anti-social acts and contributed to the peaceful co-existence in the region by erecting houses for the needy, supporting school children, civilians for drinking water and conducting of medical clinics and supplying all possible support for their livelihoods in a remarkable manner, for which I am grateful to you,” the Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army noted.
Saying that both Air Force and Navy personnel in the peninsula are also performing a great role, General Shavendra Silva said once the operations in the KKS harbour begin in near future, their roles would be multiplied and services would be further sought. “All those projects among the tri-services have been made possible due to the unstinted forthcoming support of HE the President, Prime Minister and the Secretary Defence who is also a veteran military officer who knows more about you,” he added.
After a while, the day’s Chief Guest was invited to inaugurate the new office complex and the Officers’ Mess of the 7 Sri Lanka Army Women’s Corps (SLAWC) Regiment, housed in Palaly. The Commander of the Army, together with the SF-J Commander and the Commanding Officer of the 7 SLAWC unveiled plaques and warmed both new buildings amidst religious blessings. The new office complex and the Officers’ Mess remained a long-felt need of the 7 SLAWC after the Battalion was moved to this new location as per directions of the SF-J Commander in the recent past.
General Officers Commanding of 51, 52 and 55 Divisions, Commander FMA (North), Brigade Commanders, Senior Officers, Commanding Officer and troops of 7 SLAWC were also present during the inauguration ceremony.
The second leg of the itinerary included official handover of Sri Lanka Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (SLEME) – refurbished vehicles, distribution of Army-produced carbonic manure and saplings of coconut and palmyrah, vesting of Army built-new houses for civilians and a few more projects
( Information from news.lk was used in this report. To Read More, click here )