The publicity for the sequel to the Channel 4 documentary, Killing Fields, has spurred the Sri Lankan Army to produce a film of its own. Army Chief Jagath Jayasuriya said in Mullaitheevu on Monday that the army film on the final stand would clear all doubts in the minds of the people.
Confirming this to The Hindu, army's acting spokesperson Brigadier G.V. Ravipriya said the film would show how the formations involved in the final operation near the Nanthikadal lagoon approached their target and how they achieved victory.
Brigadier Ravipriya, who led Task Force 8 as a Colonel in 2009, and Major General Kamal Gunaratne, who commanded the 53 Division, are two people who can shed more light on the incidents in question. TF 8 joined Vanni Liberation in February 2009 from Puthukudiyiruppu south. 53 Division joined Vanni Liberation a month earlier, in January 2009, after conducting operations from Muhamalai to Elephant Pass.
TF 8 was involved in a rather non-descript fire-fight at the lagoon on May 19, 2009. When bullets ceased from the other side, he along with his men found they had killed LTTE chief V. Prabakaran.
Though many other Divisions tried to claim credit for the killing, an enquiry credited 53 Division and Task Force 8 with the killing. Colonel Ravipriya was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and was sent to the United States as Military Attaché. He is now back in Colombo, and, interestingly, in charge of the position of army spokesperson for Monday, as a stop gap arrangement.
Brigadier Ravipriya said Task Force 8 had exchanged fire with Prabakaran and his close circle and that they had no clue about his son, Balachandran. “The Army could not find Prabhakaran's wife and son [Balachandran],” he said.
On the new Channel 4 documentary, he said anyone could come up with any story, given the amount of footage that has been shot in the area. “Various stories have been floated. Everyone is free to tell his or her story,” he said.