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Sri Lanka's monoethnic military

“Not all Sinhalese are evil. Neither is every Tamil a saint. But the fact remains that every soldier in the Sri Lankan army who fought the war against the LTTE during 2008-2009 was a Sinhalese.

“This background information is essential for any non-Tamil to understand how the Sri Lankan army can be so brutal against its own civilians.”

P C Vinoj Kumar, Editor of the Weekend Leader. See his comment here.

So, how did Sri Lanka’s armed forces became mono-ethnic?

Prof. Brian Blodgett, Director of the History and Military Studies Programs for the American Public University, published a study of Sri Lanka’s military in 2004. In it he notes how,

“in 1962, a policy of recruiting only from the Sinhalese Buddhist community was instituted. This was the beginning of an ethnically pure army.”

Prof. Stanley Tambiah of Harvard University published a book length comment, ‘Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy’, just two years after Sri Lanka’s conflict began. In it he noted,

“[Today, in 1986] the armed forces are filled with Sinhalese and the Tamils are excluded from serving in them. … There has been virtually no recruitment of Tamils into the armed forces, and very little into the police force, for nearly thirty years.”

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