Canadian Prime Minister joins politicians in marking 'horrific events' of Black July

Canada’s prime minister joined politicians across the aisle in commemorating the anniversary of Black July today, a week of anti-Tamil pogroms thirty-seven years ago that killed thousands of people across the island. Canada shares an important history with Tamils, housing the largest fraction of Eelam Tamils outside of South Asia. Approximating 140,720 residents who identify as “Tamil” according to a census released by Statistics Canada in 2016. The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued this statement, which reiterated calls for an accountability process " that has the trust and confidence...

Fitch forecasts economic contraction and bad loans in Sri Lanka

Following a downgrading of Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit to ‘-B’, Fitch warns that Sri Lanka’s GDP will contract 1.3 per cent in 2020 and has stated that bad loans will continue to increase from the reported 5.1 per cent stated for the first quarter of 2020. Commenting on their rating, Fitch stated that; “There is a strong link between the sovereign credit profile and the operating conditions for banks in Sri Lanka”. Fitch further remarked that as Sri Lanka’s GDP contracts, the growth of banks will be constrained as will recovery prospects. They also stated that the “increased risk of...

Sri Lankan army revives defunct Buddhist school in Batticaloa resort town

With an opening ceremony replete with Sinhala Buddhist monks, military officials and Sinhalese musicians and dancers, the Sri Lankan army facilitated the opening of a Buddhist school in Batticaloa, in another move abetting the Sinhalisation of the Eastern province. The construction of the school, assigned as a ‘privena’ - a monastic college for monks’ education, in Kalkudah is an attempt to revive the Wellawadiya Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya a school which had been closed for the last ten years due to insufficient student numbers. This time “the main aim of functioning this Pirivena is to...

How the 1981 riots shaped my future

This was my father’s lorry that he used for his business, he actually owned two of them and would deliver goods across Sabaragamuwa Province in Sri Lanka. He also owned two shops in Ratnapura. He was doing well in life. In 1981, the anti Tamil violence by Sinhala mobs reached Ratnapura and my father’s lorries and shops were looted and burnt to the ground. People were killed, businesses destroyed and women raped.

Jaffna University students remember Black July pogrom 37 years on

Students at the University of Jaffna held a remembrance event to mark 37 years since the pogrom of Black July in 1983.

‘Sinhala Only' votes on the campaign trail

A video from Sri Lanka which purportedly shows campaigners for a Sinhala politician canvassing for votes has gone viral on the island, after they explained on camera that their candidate was only looking for “Sinhala Buddhist and Catholic” votes. The video captures two women canvassing on behalf of Sinhala nationalist politician and Assistant Leader of the Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU), Madumadawa Aravinda. The pair explain that their candidate is looking for Sinhala Buddhist and Catholic votes, adding that he is not looking to get either Tamil or Muslim voters to back him. The PHU is an...

Reported changes to ethnicity in Sri Lanka's birth certificates causes a stir

Sri Lanka’s Registrar General's Department has issued a statement clarifying initial reports that all new birth certificates will not refer to any race or religion and will issued as “Sri Lankan,” in a move that has raised concern over the erasure of ethnic identities on the island. Ethnic group and details related to marriage were initially reported to be removed from the application form, Newswire reported . However, earlier today the Registrar General’s Department stated that they would remain, following remarks from Sinhala nationalist politicians including Wimal Weerawansa. A new digital...

Karuppar Koottam controversy: Fodder for Hindu nationalists

For a people whose brethren fought an armed war of liberation against a nation-state for 25 years, the sense of nationalism among the Tamils in India have been remarkably flaccid. The political culture of the state of Tamil Nadu has always been one where nationalism was never far below the surface, but was undermined sedulously by political parties that pretended to accentuate it. A recent incident in the state shines light on how this charade has given way to the rise of malign forces that are hell-bent on eroding the ‘Tamilness’ of the Tamils.

Tamil Nadu to construct museum showcasing ancient Tamil civilisation

A museum displaying the life of Tamils who lived on the Vaigai plains in 6 th century BCE is set to be built in Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga district. The museum will exhibit artefacts discovered at Keezhadi and its neighbouring areas in Tamil Nadu, which consisted of six excavation phases. The high specification museum is said to have a budget of over Rs. 122 million (INR).

Remembering Black July

Today marks thirty-seven years since the horrors of the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, when thousands of Tamils were killed by Sinhala mobs backed by the then UNP government and state forces. Armed with electoral rolls, Sinhala mobs targeted Tamil homes and businesses, looting and ransacking property. Driven from their homes, particularly in Colombo, over 3000 Tamils were massacred, whilst thousands more were effectively deported by the state to the North-East.