Today, May 19, marks the fourth anniversary of the decimation of the world's most ruthless terrorist organisation, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Thousands of innocent civilians including women and toddlers were brutally massacred by LTTE terrorists since 1983 up to 2009 and history has recorded that nowhere in the world had such barbarians existed.

Sri Lanka can hold her head high since nowhere in the world has such a terrorist group been militarily defeated and peace and civilian lives restored.

When the war on terrorism ended after the final battle terrorist leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body with a gaping hole on his head and his close lieutenants' bullet ridden bodies were discovered by the Sri Lankan armed forces on the banks of Puthumathalam in the Mullaitivu district.

All that is history now. Thousands of civilians secured by the Sri Lanka military during the final stages of the war on terror emerged from their well protected enclosures with a big sigh of relief. The relentless security forces however continued with flush out operations after the war on terrorism ended. During this operation and soon after, within a few weeks a total of 12,000 LTTE combatants surrendered to the security forces and all of them were put through rigorous courses of rehabilitation.

Director General Rehabilitation Brigadier Dharshana Hettiarachi said during the last four years 11,600 have been rehabilitated and released to society as useful citizens and they are all leading an exemplary life as law abiding citizens.

The rehabilitation programs were conducted in Punthottam and Maruthamadu in Vavuniya and in Senapura and Kandakadu in Welikanda in the Polonnaruwa district. The duration of the courses depended on the vocation chosen by the surrendees.

First, the surrendees underwent extensive courses in counselling, followed by education, spiritual and sports activities before being trained in various vocations. Carpentry, masonry, house wiring and plumbing were the main subjects of vocational training while a few were trained in agriculture, too. There were forty vocations to choose from.

State Banks provided the needy up to Rs. 250,000 as loans with a mere 4 per cent annual interest. Around 3,800 rehabilitated LTTE cadres were recruited to the Civil Security Department and are employed in the agricultural sector.

Brigadier Hettiarachi revealed that ex combatants arrested by the Terrorist Investigation Department after prosecution in courts of law were often jailed. On completion of imprisonment they are released to Rehabilitation centres where they are trained in various vocations.

The area Police stations where the rehabilitated cadres are engaged in their newly learnt trade, could report of any misbehaviours to the Rehabilitation Centres.

But the Director General said not more than five or six complaints have been received against the rehabilitated cadres and all were of a minor nature often on personal matters. "It has been a great success and nowhere in the world has such a ruthless terrorist organisation been defeated and thousands of ex combatants rehabilitated, trained in useful vocations and released to society to lead a respectful life,"the Director General proudly said.

In lighter vein he said sometimes the rehabilitated cadres complained that when they visit the Grama Niladhari or a state official for official assistance they are ignored.

This was mainly because these same cadres in their hey day while in the LTTE had harassed these same officials and were now getting it back, tit for tat.

Courtesy - Sunday Observer