Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home >  Tamils - a Trans State Nation  > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide - Preface, Prologue & Index > Black July 1983 - The Record Speaks


Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide

Burning Passions :
How Nuwara Eliya was Razed to the Ground

New Statesman, London
12 August 1983

"To escape the paralysing summer heat and ill health of the surrounding coastal areas of what was then called Ceylon, the British built Nuwara Eliya as a charming replica of rural England. Two weeks ago, this small, and in may ways rather beguiling, Sri Lankan town became the focal point for much of the communal violence that has engulfed the island.

As the town burnt to charcoal and the Tamil inhabitants ran for their lives, I watched Sri Lankan soldiers on the spot stand idly by. While the officers in charge may have been in two minds about allowing the mob violence to spread, their rank and file were not. The soldiers on the street seemed quite willing to stand and look as the inhabitants burnt one another's property, where this conformed to their own prejudices.

Nuwara Eliya is at the heart of tea plantation country: the western tourists' image of smiling tea pickers clad in brightly coloured cotton saris could almost exist here. Its remote position, perfect for idling tea magnates and holidaying imperial army officers, ensured that the town escaped the great social and economic movements of modern times, and much of the racial turmoil of the last 30 years of Sri Lanka history until now.

The curfew on Friday 29 July was a farce, serving only to keep civilian cars off the road. Although the troops did not actively participate in the mayhem themselves, they certainly did nothing to discourage it: crowds were allowed to roam the town at will. Many of the casualties of that day poured into the back of our hotel, seeking what treatment they could find. They maintained that much of the damage was done by imported thugs. How else could it he that a seemingly peaceful community imploded and itself destroyed what had taken years to build?"



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