Beneath the Ashes: Remembering Black July and the Violence Before 

This year marks 36 years since the Black July pogroms. The brutal state-sponsored violence by Sinhala mobs lasted a week and saw the death of at least 3,000 Tamils, destruction of 5,000 shops, and displacement of over 150,000 Tamils. At least 500 Tamil women were raped and many families were burned alive. It also prompted the first large exodus of Tamils: 500,000 fled the island, giving seed to a global Tamil diaspora. The Black July pogrom carried all the hallmarks of genocide: most notably, mobs were armed with voter registration lists distinguishing Tamils as targets of violence. In this...

Sri Lankan army harass onlookers as Sinhala students clash outside Jaffna Uni

Sri Lankan soldiers stationed at the University of Jaffna stood by as Sinhalese students clashed outside the campus on Wednesday, instead harassing passers-by and onlookers. The soldiers forced onlookers away from the incident and berated individuals who had filmed the clashes, forcing them to delete all photographs and videos. The University’s administration said that since the clash had happened outside the campus, no disciplinary action would be taken, but that Koppay police had been informed.

Sri Lanka Air Force personnel to be deployed to Central Africa for UN peacekeeping duties

A team of Sri Lankan Air Force personnel are to be deployed to Central Africa next month to undertake United Nations (UN) peacekeeping duties. The Passing Out Parade of the No 5 contingent of the Aviation Unit under the UN helicopter deployment was held yesterday at the Sri Lankan Air Force Base in Katunayake. The helicopter deployment includes 18 officers and 92 airmen and are scheduled to start in September 2019. The UN has previously raised concerns given the problematic record of the Sri Lankan military abroad. The UN had accused 134 Sri Lankan soldiers of sexually abusing and exploiting...

TID officials question Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research

A Tamil think-tank based in Jaffna was visited and its staff questioned by Sri Lankan terrorism police. Kumaravadivel Guruparan, executive director of Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research (ACPR) and senior law lecturer at Jaffna University, reported that the office of ACPR were visited by three TID (Terrorism Investigation Division) officials who claimed to have been sent by their superiors in Colombo to inquire into the human rights policy-think tank. The officials asked the staff what they were doing and who was funding them alongside other similar questions. When asked whether they were...

Valvai massacre by Indian troops remembered thirty years on

The massacre of 63 Tamils in cold-blood by Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) in Valvai on August 2, 1989 was remembered on Friday, 30 years on. IPKF officers, led by Brigadier Sankar Prasath, entered homes in the Valvettithurai region after imposing a curfew and shot and stabbed residents to death. Some young men were dragged to the local junction where they were shot and killed. The soldiers also set fire to and destroyed 123 homes, and looted and burnt 45 businesses. File photo: grid of selected victims' photographs from 2018 remembrance No one has been held accountable for the deaths of...

Disappearance activist and daughter attacked in Batticaloa

A prominent Tamil disappearances activist and her daughter were attacked and hospitalised in Batticaloa on Sunday evening. Amala Nayagi, the vice-president of the North East Families of the Disappeared Association and the president of the Batticaloa District Association, and her daughter were deliberately hit and knocked off their motorcycle by an oncoming motorcycle with three men. The injured Amala Nayagi and her daughter were admitted to Karadiyanaru hospital in Batticaloa. They had been travelling to Batticaloa to attend a funeral when the attack took place. While the attackers drove off...

Security booths installed at Nallur ahead of festival

Security booths have been installed in Jaffna ahead of the Nallur Kandasamy Kovil’s annual festival, with Jaffna police ordering that all devotees must be searched before entry. The orders came following the Easter Sunday bombings in Colombo and Batticaloa earlier this year. With at least two booths installed at each of the temple’s four gates, and more at bigger gates, the scheme is reported to have cost Jaffna Municipal Council around 3 lakh rupees.

Displaced Muslims still searching for safe homes in Sri Lanka

Displaced Muslims who were forced from their homes in the wake of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday attacks, are still to be resettled more than three months after the bombs, reports The New Humanitarian. Some 228 people are still searching for safe shelter according to the UN’s refugee agency, which has been attempting to relocate the displaced. “Every effort that was made to relocate people was received with a lot of hostility,” said Menique, the head of UNHCR’s Sri Lanka office. Approximately 90 people are living in a “government-run facility in Vavuniya… where...

EU offers to help counter violent extremism in Sri Lanka

The European Union (EU) expressed its willingness to support Sri Lanka in countering violent extremism and to support improvements in coordinating the country's counter terrorism efforts. . Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, met with Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana in Thailand and expressed the EU's solidarity with Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday bombings. Addressing the 26th session of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on August 2 2019, Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, stressed the need for concerted global efforts...

Slain young journalist remembered in Jaffna

Sahathevan Nilakshan, journalist and popular student leader, murdered aged 22 while still a media student, was remembered in Jaffna on the twelth anniversary of his death on Thursday. On August 1 2007, Nilakshan, an up and coming Tamil journalist was shot and killed by suspected Sri Lankan military intelligence personnel. At a time when the Jaffna district was on lockdown due to military-imposed curfew, and the city’s streets were heaving with troops, so-called unidentified gunmen were able to approach Nilakshan’s home in Kokkuvil, a busy suburb less than 5km away from town. The perpetrators...

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