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Friday, March 13, 2015

Shri Narendra Modiji pays homage at IPKF memorial and when Shri Rajiv was attacked !!

Wars are not pretty and are not for pretty people who expect clean and complete victories wrote DNA

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji  on Friday became the first Indian Head of Government to pay homage at the IPKF memorial in Colombo this evening. In a ceremony marked by solemnity, poignancy and reflecting the best in terms of military tradition, Prime Minister Shri  Modi walked up to the memorial accompanied by senior defence officers and placed a floral wreath at the base of the memorial. He then stood in silence as the Last Post was sounded as a mark of respect for the martyred soldiers.

The inscription on the granite plaque at the memorial reads as follows: "This monument is dedicated to the members of Indian Peace Keeping Force who made the supreme sacrifice during the peace keeping mission from 1987 to 1990 in Sri Lanka." But, there is poignancy behind the mission that led to the death of about 1,200 lives and the involvement of thousands of soldiers.

Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPK) was the Indian military contingent performing a peacekeeping operation in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990. It was formed under the mandate of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord signed between India and Sri Lanka in 1987 that aimed to end the Sri Lankan Civil War between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan military. The main task of the IPKF was to disarm the different militant groups. It was to be quickly followed by the formation of an Interim Administrative Council. These were the as per the terms of the accord signed between India and Sri Lanka, at the behest of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India. The IPKF was inducted into Sri Lanka on the request of then-Sri Lankan president J. R. Jayewardene under the terms of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord.

It did not go well and later the  IPKF began withdrawing from Sri Lanka in 1989, with change of power both in India and Sri Lanka where Ranasinghe Premadasa came to power.   

One of the unsavoury incidents occurred when Shri Rajiv Gandhi was in Colombo.  Wijemuni Vijitha Rohana de Silva, a Sri Lankan sailor assaulted the Indian Prime Minister in 1987 at President's House, Colombo.  Shri  Rajiv Gandhi was escorted by Lieutenant Mendis along with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ronnie de Mel, and Sri Lankan security personnel. Vijitha Rohana swung his ceremonial Lee-Enfield rifle at the Indian Prime Minister aiming at the back of his neck. Gandhi managed to duck and miss the full brunt of the blow, even though the rifle struck him. A split second later one of his Special Protection Group (that look after Indian VIP's security) men grabbed the rating and threw him to the ground. He was arrested by the Lankan force.

Vijitha  faced a court martial  and was charged with attempted murder and acting contrary to navy discipline and insulting a state leader. The  court martial found him guilty of attempted culpable homicide not amounting to murder and insulting the Indian Prime Minister. He was sentenced to six years in prison, however President Premadasa gave him a presidential pardon after two and a half years.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Mar 2015.
1st photo from Shri Narendra Modi’s facebook
2nd photo credit – the Guardian


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