22nd February 2020 19:37:20 Hours
Closely considering their spiritual needs, interests and lifetime attachment to the most sacred Buddhist places of worship in ‘Dambadiwa’, India, arrangements, have now been finalized to take one more 15-member batch of battle-affected War Heroes, still under recuperation shortly on pilgrimage to India with five of their accompanying caretakers.
Following coordination made by the Directorate of Rehabilitation with the blessings of Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, acting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Army, those differently-able War Heroes this morning (20) received their free air tickets from Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, together with cash grants to each of them during a brief ceremony at the Sri Jayawardenapura Army Headquarters.
This is the 4th Phase of the pilgrimage project, which was initiated a few years ago when Lieutenant General Silva was serving as Adjutant General of the Army. The group of pilgrims includes handicapped War Heroes, resident at ‘Mihindu Seth Medura’, ‘Ragama Ranaviru Sewana’, ‘Abhimansala - 1, 2, 3’ wellness resorts. Before this group, a total of 60 disabled War Heroes were flown to India on pilgrimage.
The pilgrims, soon after their arrival at the Army Headquarters were welcomed before they sat for a few group photos with the arrival of the day’s Chief Guest, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva.
Those War Heroes still under recuperation and rehabilitation at different Army wellness resorts are full of praise to the Army Chief and Director Rehabilitation for the planned expedition and onward arrangements in connection with the visits to Varanasi, Bodhgaya, New Delhi and a few other places of interest. Air passage has been facilitated by the Army-managed Air Travels Ltd in Colombo 2.
The Army bears the cost of airfare and facilities to those differently-able War Heroes, some of who are wheelchair-ridden for the rest of their lives.
The group will depart for India on Sunday (23) and is expected to return on 3 March. The brief ceremony was attended by Director General General Staff, Major General T.S Bansajaya, Military Secretary, Major General Jayashantha Gamage, Director Rehabilitation, Brigadier W.B.S.M Abeysekara and a host of Senior Officers.