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Black July (1983)

July 1983 remains one of the darkest moments in Sri Lanka’s history. The pogrom against Tamil civilians led to increased hostilities between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government. This year, after the Easter Sunday Attacks, Groundviews collected testimonials from Sri Lankans to understand how the events of 1983 resonated with people.

 

A Violent Past, An Uneasy Present

Over the years Black July has remained in the minds and hearts of those who remembered the violence it unleashed and the civil war that escalated afterwards.

“The incident that seemingly sparked off the Island-wide anti-Tamil violence was an attack on the Sri Lanka Army Soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the North. Thirty-five years ago on the night of 23rd of July, members of the Tigers led by Veluppillai Prabhakaran and his deputy Sellakkili Ammaan ambushed an Army patrol at the Post Box Junction area in Thirunelvely in Jaffna and killed Lt. Vaas Gunawardena of the Sri Lanka Light Infantry and 12 other soldiers.

Troops went berserk in Jaffna in the hours that followed and shot dead 51 innocent civilians at various places in the Jaffna Peninsula on Sunday. This included seven passengers and driver of a minivan at Manipay.

In Colombo, the Govt. had already decided to publish, broadcast and televise the news about 13 soldiers being killed by the Tigers while blacking out news of reprisals by the armed forces.”

– DBS Jeyaraj

Read more: http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Black-July-Thirty-fifth-Anniversary-of-Anti-Tamil-Violence-153018.html