PM invokes Ruhuna ethos for SLA recruiting
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 January 2001, 16:49 GMT]
A program to recruit ten thousand youth to the Sri Lanka army was begun Tuesday the Buddhist temple in the island's main pilgrimage centre. Sri Lanka's prime minister, Mr.Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, who chaired the function said that it was a great achievement by the people of Ruhuna to have inaugurated the program to win the war from Kataragama. The southern interior of the island was called Ruhuna in medieval Sinhala. It is celebrated by Sinhala Buddhist nationalists as the ancient seat of resistance to Tamil dominance where Sinhala rulers mustered recruits to wage war on the armies of the Chola empire. Senior SLA officers and Buddhist monks took part in the program.
The prime minister praised the youth who had come forward to join the army without considering salaries and benefits, stating that their example should inspire others. Mr.Wickremanayaka asserted that the aim of the program is to win the war soon and bring about peace in the country.
The Sri Lankan army is hard pressed for manpower as a consequence of continuous high intensity engagements with the Liberation Tigers. Frequent recruitment drives and regular amnesties have not brought in adequate numbers for replenishing annual battlefield losses.
Sinhalese make up ninety eight percent of the SLA. The others are mainly of Muslims and Malays.
The Sri Lankan Prime minister and senior Buddhist monks promised last year to assist the army's recruitment drive. They began several campaigns to stir nationalist sentiments among rural Sinhala youth since then, urging them to join the army and defeat the Tigers.
However, the SLA claims that it is still short of 20000 soldiers and need at least 10000 to meet urgent manpower needs in the northern fronts.
The Cholas were a South Indian Tamil dynasty.