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

The attacks were not confined to Colombo alone - they spread to Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Bandarawela, Negombo, and many other areas where Tamils lived amongst a predominant Sinhala population...

The attacks were not confined to Colombo alone. They spread to Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla, Bandarawela, Negombo, and many other areas where Tamils lived amongst a predominant Sinhala population.

"Violence also erupted in places such as Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla and Bandarawela. On each of these occasions it followed a similar pattern. The incidents were started off by people coming in from outside the districts, lists were used to identify Tamil property and systematic attacks were made on it: the local people were then encouraged to follow with further depredations..." (Patricia Hyndman, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales and Secretary, Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee - Report on the Communal Violence in Sri Lanka, July 1983)

Two state owned buses filled with petrol were used to burn down
the Muthu Mariamman Temple at Matale on 28 July 1983

''(A British tourist) said: 'Last Wednesday a taxi driver took us into Negombo... and the whole town was smouldering. All the Tamil property in the centre of the town had been burnt down. The cigarette factory had gone up together with a cinema and a garage. There was smoke everywhere and the whole area was a burnt out mess. ..there was no sign of any Tamil anywhere. We were told that Tamils were being grabbed off buses by groups of people wielding iron bars. We also saw young Sinhalese stopping cars to siphon out the petrol so they could use it to start fires.'.. '' (London Times, 2 August 1983)

''...the looting burning and killing that began last week end in Colombo spread to the cities of Kandy and Gampola in the central hills... In Kandy, 62 miles northeast of Colombo, mobs burned and sacked at least 55 stores owned by members of the Tamil minority in attacks that began Tuesday night and continued Wednesday...'' (The Guardian, 28 July 1983)

"The town (Kandy), which lies at the centre of the tea and rubber plantations of the central highland area of Sri Lanka has witnessed rioting and fire bombing against Tamil owned homes and businesses for the past four nights. And the presence of the rows of burnt out shops and of the 6000 Tamils in five temporary camps shows that the communal terror which has been unleashed in Sri Lanka is much more widespread than at first reported. The testimony of similar outrages in the villages in the steep sided hills and dense green country around Kandy reinforces that impression...The Sinhala District Inspector General of Police for the central range said: 'We usually expect what we call the soda bottle effect in these things. A sudden foaming up and then going flat but that hasn't happened yet.'... Two unidentified bodies were fished from the artificial lake in the centre of Kandy and a third body was found on a railway line close to the town. The body, which had been cut and chopped, was evidently thrown from a train..." (The London Times, 30 July 1983)

"...News of the extent of the violence directed at the centre of Nuwara Eliya by Sinhala mobs was somehow contained by the town's remoteness... But no point in Colombo or the surrounding suburbs matches the mess... Whole blocks have been reduced to charred rubble. Only a handful of provision shops belonging to Sinhala traders remained... Remarkably, only sixteen people died in the inferno..." (London Daily Telegraph, 6 August 1983)

''Two weeks ago (Nuwara Eliya).. became the focal point for much of the communal violence that has engulfed the island... We had already been in Sri Lanka for 10 days... before the events of 29 July. We had started in Colombo; we then fled to Kandy to escape the violence; when it followed us there we moved to Nuwara Eliya. Yet subsequent reports confirmed that the damage done to Nuwara Eliya was at least the equal of anything experienced elsewhere.. By dusk on Friday 29 July, not one building in the central street was left standing; fire had spread to the hills too, engulfing shops, homes and buses...''(Peter Hartnell, New Statesman, 12 August 1983)

''In the relatively small town of Lunugala in the Badulla District, 67 houses, 35 business establishments and two vehicles belonging to Tamils were burnt. A leading businessman and a nun were murdered.. In Badulla itself, according to a report in Virakesari of 1 October 1983, quoting the government agent, 127 houses, 252 shops, four Hindu temples, four printing presses, two cinemas, one tavern, three Tamil schools, 79 vehicles and a rural bank were destroyed. There were 20 murders. In the nearby small town of Passara, in the sam district, 63 houses, 21 shops, 16 vehicles and printing press were burnt and destroyed. There were two murders...'' (N.Shanmugathasan,Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State - Race and Class, Volume XXVI, A.Sivanandan and Hazel Waters, Institute of Race Relations, London)

''Holiday makers who returned to Dusseldorf said hundreds of Tamils had been murdered and even their hotel waiter told them proudly, 'we have killed several of them." A business consultant said a dozen houses had been burned down near the popular seaside resort of Bentota, among them the local chemist shop...''(Oslo Report dateline 29 July 1983 in Madras Hindu)

''Fearing adverse international reaction to photographs and TV footage depicting the aftermath of the violence, the authorities yesterday imposed strict censorship on all still and moving pictures.'' (London Daily Telegraph, 2 August 1983)



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