Gamini Kularatna Memorial

Gamini Kularatna Memorial
Gamini Kularatna Memorial (also known as Hasalaka Gamini Ranaviru Smarakaya) has been erected to commemorate S/34553 Corporal Gamini Kularatna YG PWV, a soldier of the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment who sacrificed his life on 13 July 1991 to save his camp and the comrades from a deadly bulldozer attack carried out by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels [(LTTE is a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization by 32 countries) Pieris, 2014]. The memorial has been set up on the wayside of the Kandy-Jaffna highway (A9), near the Elephant Pass Railway Station in Kilinochchi District, Sri Lanka.

The war hero Gamini Kularatna is popularly known among the people as Hasalaka Gamini.

The incident
Elephant Pass
Elephant Pass is referred to as the Gateway to Jaffna as it connects the Jaffna Peninsula to the Sri Lankan mainland and is therefore considered a strategically important location. The Elephant Pass army camp which belonged to the 6th Battalion Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment was also a crucial point to hold in war, so LTTE rebels tried to attack it in 1991.

The attack
On 13 July 1991, an armour-plated bulldozer heavily filled with explosives was launched towards the Elephant Pass camp by the LTTE to destroy the camp as well as the many soldiers who were there. However, the effort by the LTTE became unsuccessful when a soldier who had realized the gravity of the imminent threat that was advancing towards the camp decided voluntarily to destroy the bulldozer in order to save the camp as well as his comrades. That soldier, Gamini Kularatna went forward with hand grenades and blasted the deadly vehicle while losing his own life in the process.

This brave sacrifice by Gamini Kularatne was highly appreciated at the time across the country. In recognition of his sacrifice, the Sri Lankan president awarded the Parama Weera Vibushana Medal (Posthumously), the highest decoration a soldier can earn, to Gamini making him the first recipient of that gallant award.

The memorial
The Sri Lanka Civil War finally came to the end when LTTE rebels were defeated by the government forces in 2009. After the war was over, a memorial for Gamini was set up in 2014, in Elephant Pass with the remains of the bulldozer he destroyed. The memorial can be seen on the A9 road on the way to Jaffna.

The deadly bulldozer Gamini Kularatna statue
See also

1) Pieris, A., 2014. Southern invasions: post-war tourism in Sri Lanka. Postcolonial studies, 17(3), pp.266-285.

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This page was last updated on 24 March 2024
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