A long-forgotten memorial to soldiers of the Indian Peace Keeping Force inside the Palaly high security zone has been re-discovered.
“The memorial was found late last year,” Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Ashok K. Kantha told The Hindu. After Jaffna Consul General V. Mahalingam and a team verified the structure, the High Commission requested the Sri Lankan government’s support in sprucing up the memorial befitting martyrs.
“The Sri Lankan government was very cooperative and we thank it for its support,” Mr. Kantha said.
Mr. Mahalingam said: “Some people found it, and they informed us. Initially, we were not sure. But they took a few pictures and sent them to us.”
Commander of Jaffna security forces Mahinda Hathurusinghe and his team helped clear the wild growth and assisted reclaiming the memorial.
On Wednesday, Mr. Kantha, Mr. Mahalingam and others paid floral tributes at the place.
The memorial pays homage to 33 men of the Indian elite special forces, the 10 Para Regiment, who were cremated there. It comprises seven structures and has the names of all the soldiers. A release said the lives were lost in IPKF operations in the Northern Province between 1987 and 1989.
The regiment suffered significant casualties in one of its first battles. A company of 10 Para Commando, was heli-landed into the Jaffna Fort to raid the LTTE headquarters in the opening stages of the campaign on October 12, 1987.
The LTTE greeted the commandos with a hail of gunfire. It is not clear if all those buried in Palaly are from the first battle or from multiple battles.