Former LTTE eastern Lanka hideout now tourist attraction
PTI - COLOMBO
Published: 18th April 2013 08:18 PM
Last Updated: 18th April 2013 08:18 PM
Thoppigala, which used to be an LTTE hideout in Sri Lanka's east and served as a training base for them during their nearly three decades of separatist campaign, has now been converted into a tourist attraction.
The Thoppigala Heritage Park was declared opened by the top defence official Gotabhaya Rajapaksa today.
"This is a multi-ethnic area in the country rich with the nature's beauty and its flora and fauna. Local and foreign tourists would be welcome to visit Thoppigala.
Particularly those overseas who level unjustified accusations against Sri Lanka could visit here and see for themselves the progress we have made after we ended terrorism," President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
Thoppigala or Baron's Cap in the eastern Batticaloa district would now be a tourist camping site in addition to its military museum.
The tourists could climb the rock which stands 1753 feet above sea level and survey the thickets and the rocky terrain that surround it.
The Thoppigala thickets served as a key LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) hideout in the eastern province.
In July 2007, the military wrested control of Thoppigala from LTTE signalling the end of their hold in the east.
Weakened by the lost at Thoppigala, two months later the LTTE lost the eastern battle to the Army giving the government forces the full control in the east.
The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) during their stint in Sri Lanka's north and east between 1987-1990 had carried out several military operations in Thoppigala to comb out the LTTE fighters in the area.