& Southerners Join Hands Together To Felicitate Gusi Prize Laureate
[Updated :: 2010-12-15
Sri Lanka’s ‘Gusi International Peace Prize – 2010’ laureate, Major
General Mahinda Hathurusinghe, Commander, Security Forces Jaffna
upon his return home was showered with voluminous felicitations
at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on Monday (13) before a galaxy
of appreciative audience of religious dignitaries, President’s Secretary,
Ministers, Secretary Defence, Army and Navy Chiefs, Senior Military
Officers and a blend of North-South denizens.
of Plantation Industries, Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe, Chief Guest
for the occasion, in the company of Minister Douglas Devanada, Secretary
Defence, Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Commander of the Army, Lieutenant
General Jagath Jayasuriya, Commander of the Navy, District Secretaries,
senior citizens from the North and South, well-wishers and friends,
joined Major General Hathurusinghe, the only South Asian to have
received this international honour for inauguration of the day’s
felicitation ceremony by lighting the traditional oil lamp after
the laureate and distinguished invitees were conducted in a procession.
(13) felicitation ceremony, a collective effort organized and coordinated
by a representative forum of the North and South civilians, including
Jaffna based Hindu and Catholic priests leading senior citizens
of the North and South was coloured by several erudite orations.
The occasion was also a symbolic mirror of goodwill and appreciation
towards Major General Hathurusinghe’s commendable and undisputed
public role and in valuable service he rendered to the Jaffna populace
and the Kilinochchi district in the past few years.
Ishwara Sharma, Secretary to the organizing committee of the felicitation
ceremony and Major General S. D Tennakoon (Retd) at the commencement
of the ceremony presented a summary of the laureate’s achievements
in Jaffna for the benefit of innocent and displaced people.
Secretary Mr Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his felicitation address to the
occasion pointed out that Sri Lanka Army has proved in this instance
that it is not only professional to conduct military operations
but also equally competent enough to take the country on the path
of reconciliation and reconstruction.
after the second world war, some nations are struggling to resettle
people while still continuing their demining work in affected areas.
We have by now resettled almost 95% of the people affected by war,
an achievement perhaps unprecedented in the world. In our country
75% of the demining work is carried out by Sri Lanka Army. Major
General Hathurusingha’s international recognition amply testifies
to the fact that we have an Army, as some say, that can work much
better than even some government servants”, Mr Rajapaksa noted.
Rajapaksa said that during a recent visit to the Philippines, he
was told by a senior defence officer that Sri Lanka’s Major General
Mahinda Hathurusinghe has made the country proud by becoming the
first in the course winning a gold. “I was proud myself and felt
that he had done exceptionally well in his course”, he said. Referring
to Navy’s 60th anniversary, Mr Rajapaksa said that all major naval
fleet in the world expressed their appreciation of our Navy as many
naval ships and representatives joined the Navy anniversary celebrations.
Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya in his brief note to the august
assembly reminded that the Army having fought the most ruthless
terrorism in the world has now undertaken a more difficult task
to reap the benefits of peace, reconciliation and reconstruction.
In that connection, the recognition Major General Hathurusinghe
received is a precedent that stands testimony to the Army’s role,
that is transformation to peace and reconciliation, a major challenge
indeed. “Nation is at crossroads now and is entering a new era of
nation building. The Army as a platform for rebuilding has been
honoured and recognized further due to this international recognition.
This is an honour to the country for its spirits of humanity”, the
Major General Hathurusinghe, Rev Father Dr Justin B Gnanapragasam,
Vicar General Jaffna Diocese, Professor P. Balasundaram Pillai,
University of Jaffna, Most Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri, Anunayaka
Thera of the Malwatte Chapter and Ms Imelda Sukumar, District Secretary
for Jaffna also spoke on the occasion.
special monumental replica was presented to the laureate by Minister
Douglas Devananda, representing all the civilians in the peninsula.
Colourful cultural feats, choreographed to suit Tamil and Sinhala
traditions added entertainment to the occasion.
General Mahinda Hathurusinghe was awarded the South Asia’s most
prestigious Gusi Peace Award-2010 for his salutary role and dedication
towards humanitarian assistance to Jaffna people and attainment
of peace, dignity and harmony in the peninsula.
Gusi Peace Award, conferred annually by the Gusi Foundation recognizes
and honours exemplary contributions and commitment made by distinguished
individuals or groups worldwide towards Peace and Human Rights,
in Scientific Discoveries, Politics, Academia, Performing Arts,
Literature, Medicine or Physiology, Journalism, Economics, Humanities,
Physics, Chemistry, Religion, Internationalism, etc. (Courtesy :