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 Post subject: First woman soldier to die in action
 Post Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:31 pm 
H. M. Rupawathi of the women's brigade
First woman soldier to die in action

H. M. Rupawathi, 24, from Anuradhapura, joined SL Army in December 1995. Rupa was the youngest of eight, all girls. She had told the anxious parents that she must serve the country, rather than stay at home. women's brigade did their duty night and day as committed men do. On 9th August 1996, three tigers attacked Rupa's bunker. She shot them. One tiger fell but the second shot at Rupa. She fell only to receive the fatal second shot from another which hit her chest.

By Athula Bandara
@ ST / 18th August 1996


August 9, 1996 recorded the death of the first woman soldier in eelam war. H. M. Rupawathi of the women's brigade was killed by terrorists , while guarding a bunker at Keerimalai, in KKS.

Rupa, 24, joined the Army in December 1995 and after training was posted to Elephant pass in January 1996.

From here she was sent to KKS in June to protect the territory recaptured in operation 'Riviresa'. Later she was included in the battalion that filled vacancies created by operation 'Sathjaya'. She was one of the three women guarding the Keerimalai bunker.

They did their duty night and day as committed men do, and when she could, visited her parents and family in Anuradhapura. At her last stay at home she had told them the rough life in KKS.

Rupa was the youngest of eight, all girls. She had told the anxious parents that she must serve the country, rather than stay at home, when they tried to persuade her to give up her job. She left home on July 4 to go back to KKS. All her seven sisters are married, and her 62-year-old father never felt the need of a son, as they did farming work too. Her elder sister, too is in the army, a lance corporal, who is married to also an officer in the Military Police. Another of her sisters is married also to a corporal. They were residents in Vavuniya before they shifted to Anuradhapura. They left the Kokuvil area, after tigers attacked it in 1984. Her ambition was to defeat the LTTE and get back to their native Kokuvil.

One of the three tamil tigers who confronted her had shot her. She fell only to receive the fatal second shot from another which hit her chest.

Another woman soldier who was a few yards away from the scene told us how Rupa died.

She did not want to be named. She had joined the army the same day as Rupa did. Around 2 am on the 9th, three tigers had come into Rupa's bunker creeping. She had shot them. One tiger fell but the second shot at Rupa. Another tiger threw a hand grenade, which however did not go off.

"We shot them too, the friend said. They had removed the injured tiger and left. Then only she had seen Rupawathie dead in the bunker. Another woman soldier, Sakunthala who was with Rupa, was injured. Next morning we saw a blood soaked trouser of a tiger left behind. I am sure, she said, that the Tiger whom Rupa shot, would have died. She said that they lost a heroine.

Rupa's father told us that she had bought a TV for the parents to watch TV and wanted the house provided with electricity the next time she came home. In her last letter she had indicated that trouble was brewing in the area where she was guarding. 'I am proud of my daughter's death in a way', said the father.

He was happy that though he did not have a son to fight the enemy, two of his daughters had done that job. The mother was too sad to speak to us. She would only say 'My daughter went to the war and she sacrificed her life for the country'. This is what she tells everyone, who talks to her about her loved daughter.


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