|Major General Parami Kulatunga
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|Author:||Prabath [ Sat Jul 08, 2006 3:44 am ]|
|Post subject:||Major General Parami Kulatunga|
Major General Parami Kulatunga
Major General Parami Kulatunge gave leadership to massive military operations against LTTE, with leaders such as the late Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and General Vijaya Wimalaratne. He defeated the enemy courageously during the Wadamarachchi, Valampoori, Yal Devi and Jaya Sikuru operations. He was a commanding officer of Jaffna and during that period he became popular among Jaffna civilians. He rendered a priceless service to uplift civilian life in Jaffna. As such, the army said he had been a target of the LTTE. Parami Kulatunga was murdered on 26th of June 2006 by a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber, who crashed his motorbike into an army convoy near the capital, Colombo.
By Dharisha Bastians
@ The Nation / 02 July 2006
When he spent most of his time as a young child making chaithyas and stupas out of mud and lovingly picking flowers to lay before them, it was not soldiering but the priesthood that his family thought would be Parami Kulatunga’s destiny. As he grew older, his fascination for chaithyas was replaced by a boy’s healthy appetite for sword fights. About that time, he began talking of joining the Sri Lanka Army — a little boy’s dream that was going to take him to heights unimaginable. He remained the epitome of a true soldier right until the end, but Parami achieved something even greater — he retained the piety of his boyhood all his life, dedicating it to the dhamma as he stood on guard for his country.
Born in Kandy in 1951, Parami schooled at Trinity College, getting his first taste of military life as a cadet in College. The highlights of his illustrious career have been hashed and rehashed over the last week. When Parami Kulatunga was killed last Monday, he was the third highest ranking officer in the Sri Lanka Army and its Deputy Chief of Staff. On his death, he was ranked on par with Army Chief Sarath Fonseka, who survived an assassination attempt earlier this year. Like his commander, Parami was much loved by his men, whose admiration he won with his own triumphs out on the front lines of battle. General Kulatunga played a vital role in Denzil Kobbekaduwa’s celebrated Balawega Operation to save Elephant Pass in 1991, which prevented a disaster of the magnitude government troops suffered in 2000.
Battle-hardened soldier he may have been, but Parami is best remembered as a smiling, good-humoured giant of a man. His twinkling personality coupled with an ever ready joke made it difficult to discuss national security or politics with him. Always amused at the amateur security assessments he was confronted with in public, Parami guarded his military secrets closely. It was after his death that members of the man’s family even knew the military honours he had received throughout his years in the army.
“Family was everything to him,” Parami’s cousin Priyamali Uduman recalls. They remember him for his commitment to kith and kin, ever ready to help, a steady, constant source of strength. He towered over his siblings and cousins as a child, growing up in Kandy, and through his life, Parami Kulatunga remained the quintessential ‘aiyya,’ refusing to forget family despite the pressures of the battlefield. They remember him walking into their homes, after a tour of duty, bearing fresh vegetables and pots of curd and honey. His nieces and nephews remember Parami for his big bear hugs and the laughter he always brought with him to a gathering.
A soldier to his fingertips, Parami kept a spotless house. His colleagues in the army loved to move into houses he had previously occupied because he was so meticulous about maintenance. The hours away from the battlefield, family members say, Parami spent tending his garden. His pet Alsatians died of heartbreak when Parami was posted in America for one year on training. Not even animals could resist this man’s charm.
In the quiet of the ceasefire years, Parami devoted his time and the energies of the family Buddhist society towards welfare projects around Sri Lanka. In the often forgotten village of Panama in the southernmost corner of Ampara District, he spearheaded a housing project for the tsunami affected with funds raised by the society.
Nobody knew better that he was fey than Parami Kulatunga himself. A few weeks before his death at the hands of a motorcycle bomber, Parami confided to relatives that he would not undertake to make decisions about his life until these four months were past. Keenly aware that he was on the Tigers’ hitlist, the General shielded others from being targets by association, denying himself a great many things natural to the human condition in the process.
It was probably Parami Kulatunga’s destiny to go out in a blaze of glory. Such men are not meant to live out their twilight years, far removed from the work that has defined and sustained them through their lives. Even that Monday morning, Parami was on his way to the Panagoda Army Camp, his most faithful comrade in arms beside him, a newspaper in his hands. He made a soldier’s sacrifice for the country he was sworn to defend.
Still that is cold comfort for a family that will never again see him smile. As for the nation, we know that Parami Kulatunga was killed because he was feared; because his power to rally the troops who loved him so well would have proved too great a force for the enemy to combat. We grieve for Parami — the man he was, the life he lived, the commander he could have been. We know his death means ours is now a country that goes to war, one great soldier less.
Assassination of Major General Prami Kulathunge
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