'They bombed my school' - An eyewitness account of the Nagarkovil massacre

I was 11 years old. It was just after lunch on Friday the 22nd of September 1995. That’s when we heard a large aircraft circling our village. The Sri Lankan Air Force dropped the first bomb nearby the school. At this point we were surrounded by large smoke, followed by a bang. There were several bombs dropped over the school and other parts of the village. I heard my friends screaming and running and then all of a sudden the whole place was chaotic. All the students ran in all directions. I can still see it.

Thileepan's Indomitable Spirit - Newsletter, 21 September 2020

On 15th September 1987, Lt. Col. Thileepan, a political wing leader with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), began his hunger strike, demanding that the Indian government honour the pledges it made to the Tamil people. His fast lasted 11 days, during which he was surrounded by over 100,000 supporters. On 26th September 1987, he died. Despite 33 years passing, the original demands he made are still pertinent to issues facing the Eelam Tamil nation. The pledges centered on releasing Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; ending the Sinhala colonisation of the North-East...

Britain’s support of Sri Lankan war crimes was part of 'imperial interests' – Professor Jude Lal Fernando

Speaking to Sputnik News, Professor Jude Lal Fernando, from Trinity College Dublin, illustrates that Britain’s complicity in Sri Lankan war crimes was not incidental, nor the actions of a few rogue actors, but rather part of a broader mission which was seen as safeguarding its “imperial interests”.

Tamils remember their loved ones - Newsletter, 7 September 2020

In the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s 2020 parliamentary election, the Rajapaksa regime was able to solidify its control over the country and effectively gain a two-thirds majority. There was never any misconception over what accused war criminal Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa had envisioned for the state, and within weeks , his newly appointed cabinet swiftly drafted a new 20th Amendment to the constitution. If approved, which seems likely, his office will be granted sweeping powers that in effect solidifies the executive presidency and remove a series of checks and balances. Whilst the...

What Gotabaya’s Presidency will mean for Tamil politics and development in Sri Lanka

Writing for The Wire India, Mario Arulthas, Advocacy Director for PEARL, and Dr Madura Rasaratnam, professor of Comparative Politics at the City University of London, rebuke the argument that parliamentary elections indicate “a complete overhaul” of the political system with turn away from “Tamil nationalist politics and towards development”; instead they provide a more nuanced analysis that highlights that the “fundamentals of Sri Lanka’s politics will likely remain unchanged”.

Autocrats Ascend - Newsletter, 24 August 2020

In his first address to Parliament since the parliamentary elections, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa laid out his vision of the island which emphasised the need to “protect and nurture the Buddha Sasana” but failed to make mention of the plight of Tamils and Muslims. In the past, Sri Lankan leaders have made token remarks towards other peoples on the island, however, the Rajapaksa administration, having won on a staunchly Sinhala Buddhist nationalist ticket, no longer sees the need for such trivialities. Instead, he emphasised the need to repeal the 19th Amendment, which restrained...

Tamils have not abandoned human rights for economic development – JS. Tissainayagam

Writing for the diplomat Tamil journalist, J.S Tissainayagam, rebukes the claim that Tamil’s are “moving away from regional Tamil-nationalist parties – focused on ethnic rights, wartime accountability, and power-sharing” and towards groups focused on “economic development”. Instead, he argues that contrary to this narrative, Tamil demands for rights and justice remains just as widespread and resolute as ever. Tamil politics since the end of the armed conflict In contextualising the post-war political landscape, Tissainayagam, notes that despite more than a decade passing since the end of the...

'Chauvinist alliance wins election'

In the recent Sri Lankan Parliamentary election “Rajapaksa appealed to Sinhalese chauvinism, boasting of his role in crushing the Tamil Independence movement” Chris Slee wrote for the Green Left. “The majority of Sri Lankans are Sinhalese Buddhists. The Rajapaksa brothers have appealed to Sinhalese-Buddhist chauvinism, directing hostility against ethnic and religious minorities. In recent years Muslims have been a target. Last year a number of terrorist attacks by a small Muslim group linked to ISIS provided a pretext for increased hostility toward Muslims.” Lee writes. “Several Tamil parties...

'Consolidating control' - The Hindu

The unprecedented "Opposition disarray" helped the Rajapaksas consolidate their hold on power in the recent parliamentary elections, The Hindu wrote in it's editorial earlier this month. "The SLPP, founded four years ago by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has won 145 seats, and with the help of minorty allies, will reach the coveted 150 mark in a House of 225. The party may now have the numbers to amend the Constitution and undo the two-term limit and other curbs on presidential powers imposed by the 19th Amendment passed by a predecessor regime," it noted. "The reasons behind this...

'Rajapaksa, in a Landslide'

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, Professor Neil DeVotta warns of “Rajapaksa rule well into the future” and possible anti-Muslim pogroms “in the days ahead unless the international community bands together to protect them”. Calling Sri Lanka’s recently elected prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and president Gotabaya Rajapaksa “Sinhalese Buddhist supremacists”, DeVotta states that under their previous tenure “radical Sinhalese Buddhist nationalists enjoyed free rein to inveigh against minorities, with Muslims especially targeted following the end of the civil war”. Militarisation Referring to...

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