Back on their feet...

It was Mulliyaweli junction. Tamil songs were blaring from the three-wheel park with over 10 tuk tuks creating a mini musical show. I wondered if any passersby did not have the urge to dance to the music. People were busy doing their last minute shopping before the boutiques closed for the day. It was 8.30 pm and a Honda bike, which came at high speed stopped close to us.

Mama Gunaratnam Sabesan. Sorry. Parakku vunada Danne nee (I am Gunaratnam Sabesan, Sorry don’t know whether I got late), the youth clad in a white shirt and neatly ironed black trousers and wearing polished black shoes said in fluent Sinhala, while removing a matching tie.

His voice pulled me out of my reverie, and I recalled the horrific situation three years ago, where soldiers of the 59 Division attacked this town which was a stronghold of the LTTE close to Mullaitivu.

In a 36-hour deadly gun battle, infantry soldiers, with the help of the close-combat air support provided by the SLAF jets and MI-24 helicopter gunships, captured Mulliyaweli after destroying the LTTE s strong points on December 26, 2008. The LTTE made this town a ghost town by herding thousands of civilians into Puthumathalan, where they were held as hostages by terrorists.

The A-34, Mankulam-Mullaitivu road, was one route that the soldiers entered to capture the town. It now looks beautiful with heaps of fresh brown layers of soil levelled to expand the road after decades. The power supply has been restored after many years and darkness has been chased away with new street lights dotting the town. After many years, people of Mulliyaweli like many other parts of Mullaitivu are rising again erasing their bitter memories.............

By Shanika Sriyananda

(Courtesy - Sunday Observer)