The Civil War
After becoming an independent state in 1948 the UNP came into power. The majority of this party was Singhalese. The new government was actively involved in the program to move Tamils, who were brought by the British to Sri Lanka to work on the tea plantations, the so called hill-country Tamils, back to India. The situation for the Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka, who have lived there for several hundreds of years, became more difficult. At a certain date the Singhalese language was introduced as the official nation wide language (to replace the English language). This resulted in a loud protest from the Tamils. The then ruling president started negotiations with the Tamils to come to an agreement and to form a kind of federation. However as a consequence of these negotiations he was killed by a Buddhist Monk shortly after in 1959.
The years after the Tamils lost more and more of their rights. Limitations were put on the number of Tamil students to study at universities. In a next step in 1972 Buddhism was declared as the most important religion. It was the duty of the state Sri Lanka to protect and cherish this religion.
At that time the police and army, which consisted for the greater part of Singhalese, started a policy against the Tamils. This caused a reaction from (mainly young) Tamils who started with counterattacks and fights for an independent Tamil state. Their goal was either to be treated in an equal way as the Singhalese or to establish a Tamil state of their own in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Due to the fact that this was not accepted by the Singhalese, they established the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) and fights between the LTTE and the army started. This resulted finally in a civil war which lasted for more than 25 years in which many people lost their lives.
Results of the civil war
- Tens of thousands people died
- Hundreds of thousands Tamils left the island and moved to other countries
- There are about 50.000 orphans
- The public and economical infrastructure of the Tamil area is heavily damaged
|Tamil child soldier||Photo of perished son at a home - Photo taken after his dead|
|Destroyed houses close to Batticaloa||Destroyed house|