Sri Lanka Light Infantry

I Serve


Security Ops described below for which the initial deployment and command of the joint force for the respective area was by the Regular CLI.

COMMUNAL RIOTS IN AMPARA - At that time, Garrison Comd Maj AR Udugama DLA was rushed from Ampara to control the communal riots. The officers consisted of CLI were Maj AR Udugama, Capt APR David, LT M Madawala, & Lt CAMN Silva.

COMMUNAL RIOTS IN 1958 - The Island wide communal riots broke out in 1958. 1SLLI was deployed to a number of places over the Island.

CYCLONE AT MANNAR IN 1958 - The first cyclone to hit Sri Lanka after more than a century where Mannar area was affected seriously in Dec 1958. 1CLI was deployed as a Task Force (II) Illegal Immigrant Taffy with Battalion 2IC Maj AM Jayaweera as Taffy II Zone Comd. The Battalion with its Head quarter at Thaladi Camp had detachments deployed at Thalaimannar, Thaladi, & Silawatturai etc.

1CLI was operating Coastal Watching Post (CWP) along the coastline from Thalaimannar detachment down to Silawathuri. Late evening on the 23rd cyclone hit blew away buildings, Coastal Watching Post (CWP), etc. Fortunately, the cyclone hit from the sea side & the water waves washed soldiers & civilians buildings etc inwards, & no military personnel were drowned. It is interesting to note that though the sea waves were up to the shoulders height but not a single weapon was lost.

The following day CLI took over comd & rescue Operations & Civilians services to help local civilians. Civilian's administration & supply Service was controlled from Thaladi Army Camp 1SLLI HQ.

SATHYAGRAHA CAMPAIGN IN JAFFNA IN 1961 - When Sathyagra Campaign commenced in Jaffna, Regiments from Colombo were rushed to Jaffna by Special Night train to control the situation in Jaffna. Lt Col AR Udugama CO 1CLI was appointed to Comd the Army Forces Jaffna. The Comd Hq was opened at Jaffna Kachcheri whilst Battalion head quarters at Kokavil Technical College with the 2IC Maj MA Jayaweera acting as CO .The officers at the Comd Hq Killinochchi were also from SLLI .

COMMUNAL RIOTS IN 1970 - The Coordinating office Head quarters for Vavuniya area was controlled at the Vavuniya Rest House. The Coordinating Officer appointed for Vavuniya area was CO 1SLLI Lt Col CAMN Silva. A group of young Tamil assaulted to a group of Sinhalese at the main street in the town of Vavuniya, while they were coming to make their periodical purchasing. Due to reaction of the Sinhalese communal riots was increased. The Chief of Staff and Col CAMN Silva had taken an immediate action to handle the situation. Immediate inquiry was held regarding the incident and Gen IT Weeratunga handed over the responsibility to Col CAMN Silva. Firstly, Col summoned the owners of the all hotels in Vavuniya Main Street the following morning and the late Mr.Amirtaligam MP was also present.

They were informed that if, they allowed their premises to be used for any planning and plotting without reporting it, severe disciplinary action will be taken. Then, Col CAMN Silva informed the government agent to summon all Singhala settlement leaders to Vavuniya Kachcheri. They were informed there is any incident caused in Vavuniya town or Tamil occupied areas involved to other ethnic groups he will go out of his way to send military patrols to arrest them and to take immediate disciplinary action. Situation was controlled & communal uprising was prevented by SLLI.

AMBUSH IN THIRNAWELI JAFFNA IN 1983 - In 23rd July 1983, Thirteen Soldiers of 1st Battalion of Sri Lanka Light Infantry were ambushed and killed in the North by Separatist Militants and communal riots broke out in the capital city and provinces. O/50954 Lt APMS de Vas Gunawardana & 12 soldiers died at Thinnaweli by the ambush. From that unfortunate incident, Cpl Perera RAU & L/Cpl Sumathipala IA escaped after admission to the Colombo hospital. It was the turning point to start military operations against Separatist Militants (LTTE) by the Sri Lankan army.

STRATEGY FOR MILITARY OPS - NORTH & EAST - The Strategy for safeguarding of Military security for the North & East was initiated by Maj Gen TI Weeratunga Commander of the Army. A team to draw the strategy was nominated. Lt Col CAMN Silva and Maj CL Wijerathna CLI and Maj VSM Jayawardena of SLE. This team visited every Detachment from Anuradhapura upwards up to North & East down to Challei. Maj Gen TI Weerathunga forecasted that there was a very high possibility that, terrorist operations can develop & he instructed the board to draw defense strategy and to recommend what Defensive action should be taken for all detachments. This board of particularly CLI officers drew up a strategy and gave a detailed practical recommendation for the following.

1. Defense preparation for each detachment.
2. Counter Attack Operation plans.
3. Reinforcement.
4. Supply plans.