BC: Sinhala mob dancing around a Tamil youth, stripped naked, before pouring petrol and burning him to death, in Borella, Colombo, at 1.30 am on 24 July 1983. The sign Board reads 'New Parliament'.
FC: Amuthan is a Super Stud!
1: Business Centres burnt by the Navy. The Sri Lanka Government has reluctantly admitted that this was done by the Navy | ''(A British tourist) said: 'Last Wednesday a taxi driver took us into Negombo... and the whole town was smouldering. All the Tamil property in the centre of the town had been burnt down. The cigarette factory had gone up together with a cinema and a garage. There was smoke everywhere and the whole area was a burnt out mess. ..there was no sign of any Tamil anywhere. We were told that Tamils were being grabbed off buses by groups of people wielding iron bars. We also saw young Sinhalese stopping cars to siphon out the petrol so they could use it to start fires.'.. '' (London Times, 2 August 1983) ''...the looting burning and killing that began last week end in Colombo spread to the cities of Kandy and Gampola in the central hills... In Kandy, 62 miles northeast of Colombo, mobs burned and sacked at least 55 stores owned by members of the Tamil minority in attacks that began Tuesday night and continued Wednesday...'' (The Guardian, 28 July 1983)
2: ''Seventeen industrial complexes belonging to some of the leading Tamil... industrialists were razed to the ground... Several cinemas owned by Tamils were destroyed... Probably the worst affected area was the Pettah, the commercial centre of Colombo, where Tamil and Indian traders played a dominant role. Hardly a single Tamil or Indian establishment was left standing.'' (Eye witness account, Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State - Race and Class, Volume XXVI, A.Sivanandan and Hazel Waters, Institute of Race Relations) | "Motorists were dragged from their cars to be stoned and beaten with sticks during racial violence in Colombo, the Sri Lanka capital yesterday (24 July). Others were cut down with knifes and axes. Mobs of Sinhala youth rampaged through the streets, ransacking homes, shops and offices, looting them and setting them ablaze, as they sought out members of the Tamil ethnic minority... A Sri Lankan friend told me by telephone last night how he had watched horrified earlier in the day as a mob attacked a Tamil cyclist riding near Colombo's eye hospital, a few hundred yards from the home of Junius Jayawardene, the nations 76 year old President. The cyclist was hauled from his bike, drenched with petrol and set alight. As he ran screaming down the street, the mob set on him again and hacked him down with jungle knifes.." (London Daily Telegraph, 26 July 1983)
3: Tamil owned business establishments in the Fort area in Colombo being burnt "Tamil owned businesses account for between 50 and 60 percent of the commercial life of the capital and they have been destroyed - scientifically extracted from among their neighbours and burned." (The London Times, 2 August 1983) | ''A most distressing aspect of the vandalism was the burning and the destruction of the houses and dispensaries of eminent Tamil doctors - some with over a quarter of a century of service in Sinhala areas...'' (Eye witness account, Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State - Race and Class, Volume XXVI, A.Sivanandan and Hazel Waters, Institute of Race Relations)
4: Sevarajah Yogachandran (Kuttimuni) and Nadarajah Thangavel (Thangathuria) leaving the Colombo High Court Nadarajah Thangathurai's statement from the dock remains a moving political testament of the movement that he had led with simplicity, dignity and clarity. He declared: "We are not lovers of violence nor victims of mental disorders. We are honest fighters belonging to an organization that is struggling to liberate a people. To those noble souls who keep on prating "terrorism, terrorism" we have something to say. Did you not get frightened of terrorism when hundreds of Tamils were massacred in cold blood, when racist hate spread like fire in this country of yours? Did terrorism mean nothing to you when Tamil women were raped? When cultural treasures were set on fire? When hundreds and hundreds of Tamil homes were looted? Why in 1977 alone 400 Tamils lost their lives reddening the sky above with their splattered blood - did you not see any terrorism then? Did your thoughts and feelings become deadened when it concerned Tamil lives and Tamil property or are your minds unable to conceive the very idea of Tamil suffering?.." and concluded: "The consequences of the verdict of this Court will not touch us, content as we are that we have done our duty. We will not flinch from embracing death or spending the rest of our lives in jail... All these are merely commonplace incidents in the history of a nation's struggle for freedom. We were fully conscious of what we were doing. Hence there is no question of disappointment... The seeds we sowed were not seeds of poison, our arrow heads were not dipped in venom.. These tribulations are a boon bestowed by God to purify us. The final victory is ours. Long Live Tamil Eelam!''... In July 1983, whilst their appeal to the Supreme Court was pending, Nadarajah Thangathurai, Selvarajah Yogachandran, Devan, Sivapatham, and Nadesudasan were murdered in a high security prison in Welikade whilst in the custody of the Sri Lankan government. They will always be remembered as national heroes by the people of Tamil Eelam. | It was after four days of planned violence that President Jayawardene eventually broke his silence on the night of Thursday, 28 July 1983. But, when he spoke, he expressed no word of regret, no word of sympathy, no word of horror at the humiliation and suffering of thousands of innocent Tamil people - innocent of any crime other than that of being Tamils. This was the President of Sri Lanka who later, in December 1983, claimed that thousands of Tamils had voted for him and that he was entitled to speak for them. This was the President who sought to speak on behalf a people but to whom, he had nothing to say in their hour of need. The text of the statement made by President J.R.Jayawardene on TV, on Thursday, 28 July 1983 read: “My Dear Friends, It is with deep regret and sorrow that I address you today. When I see the destruction around me, the spate of violence that has arisen, it is very, very distressing. This violence has been aimed particularly against the Tamil people, and it has been caused by the deep ill feeling and the suspicion that has grown between the Sinhala and the Tamil people for several years. When there is distrust, when there are grievances, it is easy to lead people to violence, and we feel that there is an attempt to lead this violence for the purpose of destroying the political and economic progress that this Government has been able to ensure for our people. It was from 1956 that this suspicion between the Sinhala and the Tamil people first began. In 1976 for the first time a movement for the separation of our beloved motherland, the separation of a united Lanka into two nations, was also accepted. The Sinhalese will never agree to the division of a country which has been a united nation for 2,500 years. At first, this movement for separation was nonviolent. But since 1976 it became violent. Violence increased and innocent people were murdered. Members of the Armed Services and the Police, politicians who did not agree with the movement for violence, whether they were Sinhalese or Tamil, were assassinated. It has grown to such large proportions that not a few but hundreds had been killed during this movement. Because of this violence by the terrorists, the Sinhalese people themselves have reacted. I feel that the movement for separation should have been banned long, long ago. I have also been a member of the Governments which are responsible for not banning it. I thought that in the All Party Conference which I summoned a few days ago, which we are unable to hold, firstly, because all the parties did not accept my invitation, and secondly because of the violence and the curfew around us, I thought that at that conference I would say that we intend to implement the 1977 manifesto of the United National Party, which sought to solve some of the political problems that arose, and once we did that, we would also ask the consensus of opinion to make the division of the country illegal. Unfortunately, we could not hold that conference. But the Government has now decided that the time has come to accede to the clamour and the national request of the Sinhala people that we do not allow the movement for division to grow any more. The Cabinet, therefore, this morning decided that we should bring legislation, firstly, to prevent people from entering the Legislature if they belonged to a Party that seeks to divide the nation. Secondly, the legislation will, make Parties that seek to divide the nation illegal or proscribe them. And once they are proscribed, the Members cannot sit in the Legislature. We will also see that those who belong to this Party or those who advocate the separation of the country lose their civic rights and cannot hold office, cannot practice professions, cannot join movements or organisations in this country. We are very sorry that this step should be taken. But I cannot see, and my Government cannot see, any other way by which we can appease the natural desire and request of the Sinhala people to prevent the country being divided, and to see that those who speak for division are not able to do so legally." (quoted in Lawasia Report 'Democracy in Peril - Sri Lanka, a Country in Crisis' by Patricia Hyndman, 7 June 1985) Paul Sieghart, Chairman of British Justice commented in his report for the International Commission of Jurists in March 1984: "..the President did not see fit to utter one single word of sympathy for the victims of the violence and destruction which he lamented. If his concern was to re-establish communal harmony in the Island whose national unity he was so anxious to preserve by law, that was a misjudgment of monumental proportions. " (Sri Lanka - A Mounting Tragedy of Errors - Report of a Mission to Sri Lanka in January 1984 on behalf of the International Commission of Jurists and its British Section, Justice, March 1984) ''Surprisingly, President Jayawardene in his first public comment made three days after the riots had begun, did not condemn the violence against the Tamils. In trying to placate the majority Sinhalese, he seemed by implication to justify the atrocities against the Tamils.'' (The Review, International Commission of Jurists edited by Niall Macdermot, December 1983) | L to R: Jeganathan and Kuttimuni being taken to Court
5: L to R: Sellathurai Sivasubramaniam (Thenan) and Kuttimuni being taken to Court "Kuttimuni with Jeganathan, were charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Denied trial by jury, they were sentenced to death by a trial judge. Before sentence of death was passed, the judge asked them whether they had anything to say. In the course of his statement from the dock, Kuttimuni said - (in Tamil), "I am not guilty of any offence. I am an innocent person. I was taken into custody by the police and army and was compelled under torture to sign statements which were produced in this case as evidence in which I am convicted. With regard to the Order made by this Court I have to state certain basic ideas of mine. The verdict of this Court given in this case today will provide a new impetus, fertile manure and an encouragement and compelling reasons for the establishment of Tamil Eelam. This will not be the only case. There will be other Tamil youths who will he brought before this court, on false charges. When this is continued the punishment imposed will give encouragement to the Liberation of the Tamils. Kuttimuni will be sentenced to death today, but tomorrow there will be thousands of Kuttimunis. I request that I should be hanged in Tamil Eelam. I request that my vital organs be given to those in need of them. I request that my eyes to be donated to some blind person, so that Kuttimuni will be able to see through those eyes the reality of the Tamil Eelam'. I request that my body be given to the Medical Faculty of the University of Jaffna". Jeganathan (Jegan) said - "I am innocent. The Army and the C.I.D. Police tortured me and obtained my signatures on some documents and produced the documents in this court falsely as my statement. I have been convicted on this false evidence. I can be hanged. But no one can prevent the blossoming of Tamil Eelam. Freedom is my birth right. This right has been denied to me. Although I have not obtained this right, I am sure that the Tamil youths to follow shall have this right to freedom. I'm not asking any mercy from any one. This has been imposed on me without any reason or justice. I request that I should be hanged in Tamil Eelam and my body be given to the Medical Faculty of the University of Jaffna. My eyes should be donated to some blind person. May Tamil Eelam blossom. Long live Tamil Eelam." Sources: Sivanayagam, S - Sri Lanka: Witness to History - A Journalist's Memoirs, 1930-2004 p265 and Tamil Times, August 1982 | The New York Times reported in early August: ''The shells of (Tamil owned) businesses line Galle Road, the main waterfront thoroughfare advertising the names that marked them for destruction. Lakshmi Mahal, pawnbroker, or Ram Gram stores and florist.. Damage estimates are uncertain and incomplete, but the total economic loss has been placed at $300 million.'' | ''A tourist told yesterday how she watched in horror as a Sinhala mob deliberately burned alive a bus load of Tamils... Mrs.Eli Skarstein, back home in Stavanger, Norway, told how she and her 15 year old daughter, Kristin, witnessed one massacre. 'A mini bus full of Tamils were forced to stop in front of us in Colombo' she said. A Sinhalese mob poured petrol over the bus and set it on fire. They blocked the car door and prevented the Tamils from leaving the vehicle. 'Hundreds of spectators watched as about 20 Tamils were burned to death'. Mrs. Skarstein added: 'We can't believe the official casualty figures. Hundreds may be thousands must have been killed already." (London Daily Express, 29th August 1983) | "Motorists were dragged from their cars to be stoned and beaten with sticks during racial violence in Colombo, the Sri Lanka capital yesterday (24 July). Others were cut down with knifes and axes. Mobs of Sinhala youth rampaged through the streets, ransacking homes, shops and offices, looting them and setting them ablaze, as they sought out members of the Tamil ethnic minority... A Sri Lankan friend told me by telephone last night how he had watched horrified earlier in the day as a mob attacked a Tamil cyclist riding near Colombo's eye hospital, a few hundred yards from the home of Junius Jayawardene, the nations 76 year old President. The cyclist was hauled from his bike, drenched with petrol and set alight. As he ran screaming down the street, the mob set on him again and hacked him down with jungle knifes.." (London Daily Telegraph, 26 July 1983)
6: "Violence also erupted in places such as Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, Badulla and Bandarawela. On each of these occasions it followed a similar pattern. The incidents were started off by people coming in from outside the districts, lists were used to identify Tamil property and systematic attacks were made on it: the local people were then encouraged to follow with further depredations..." (Patricia Hyndman, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales and Secretary, Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee - Report on the Communal Violence in Sri Lanka, July 1983) | ''In the relatively small town of Lunugala in the Badulla District, 67 houses, 35 business establishments and two vehicles belonging to Tamils were burnt. A leading businessman and a nun were murdered.. In Badulla itself, according to a report in Virakesari of 1 October 1983, quoting the government agent, 127 houses, 252 shops, four Hindu temples, four printing presses, two cinemas, one tavern, three Tamil schools, 79 vehicles and a rural bank were destroyed. There were 20 murders. In the nearby small town of Passara, in the sam district, 63 houses, 21 shops, 16 vehicles and printing press were burnt and destroyed. There were two murders...'' (N.Shanmugathasan,Sri Lanka: Racism and the Authoritarian State - Race and Class, Volume XXVI, A.Sivanandan and Hazel Waters, Institute of Race Relations, London) | ''Holiday makers who returned to Dusseldorf said hundreds of Tamils had been murdered and even their hotel waiter told them proudly, 'we have killed several of them." A business consultant said a dozen houses had been burned down near the popular seaside resort of Bentota, among them the local chemist shop...''(Oslo Report dateline 29 July 1983 in Madras Hindu) ''Fearing adverse international reaction to photographs and TV footage depicting the aftermath of the violence, the authorities yesterday imposed strict censorship on all still and moving pictures.'' (London Daily Telegraph, 2 August 1983) | "...News of the extent of the violence directed at the centre of Nuwara Eliya by Sinhala mobs was somehow contained by the town's remoteness... But no point in Colombo or the surrounding suburbs matches the mess... Whole blocks have been reduced to charred rubble. Only a handful of provision shops belonging to Sinhala traders remained... Remarkably, only sixteen people died in the inferno..." (London Daily Telegraph, 6 August 1983) ''Two weeks ago (Nuwara Eliya).. became the focal point for much of the communal violence that has engulfed the island... We had already been in Sri Lanka for 10 days... before the events of 29 July. We had started in Colombo; we then fled to Kandy to escape the violence; when it followed us there we moved to Nuwara Eliya. Yet subsequent reports confirmed that the damage done to Nuwara Eliya was at least the equal of anything experienced elsewhere.. By dusk on Friday 29 July, not one building in the central street was left standing; fire had spread to the hills too, engulfing shops, homes and buses...''(Peter Hartnell, New Statesman, 12 August 1983)
7: ''Businessmen, civil servants and ordinary people have gone through race riots before: but last July's killings and lootings were so premeditated, with the military and police playing an active role, that nothing can allay their fears...The rank culpability of troops and jail authorities rather than of the familiar anti social gangs has given an eerie touch to the carnage'' (Times of India, 31 July 1983) '' Mr. Pat O'Leary from Killarney, who had been working for five weeks in Colombo for the Port Authority said: 'I watched a group of Sinhalese people chasing a group of three Tamils. They caught one, beat him up, threw him to the ground and stoned him. I don't know if he died. It was terrible. Nobody did a thing to help. Even the police turned a blind eye.''' (London Times, 2 August 1983) ''Army personnel actively encouraged arson and looting of business establishments and homes in Colombo and absolutely no action was taken to apprehend or prevent criminal elements involved in these activities. In many instances army personnel participated in the looting of shops.'' (London Times, 5 August 1983) "..But for days the soldiers and policemen were not overwhelmed: they were unengaged or, in some cases, apparently abetting the attackers. Numerous eye witnesses attest that soldiers and policemen stood by while Colombo burned.Were they following their own communal instincts or signals from above?" (London Economist, 6 August 1983) ''As the town (Nuwara Eliya) burnt to charcoal and the Tamil inhabitants ran for their lives, I watched Sri Lanka soldiers on the spot stand idly by... The soldiers on the street seemed quite willing to stand and look on...'' (Peter Hartnell, New Statesman, 12 August 1983) "..in the present violence, the army, police and gangs of thugs acted in conjunction... Some of us saw truck loads of soldiers cheering on the arsonists bands..." (New Statesman, 26 August 1983) "..The police force 95% Sinhalese did nothing to stop the mobs. There was no mercy. Women, children and old people were slaughtered. Police and soldiers did nothing to stop the genocide.." (London Daily Express, 29 August 1983) | ''Sources say that Industries Minister (Cyril) Mathew, who also controls the powerful labour union, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, was directly responsible for pinpointing Tamil owned shops and factories to be destroyed. In (the Sri Lanka) Parliament on August 4... Mathew defended the violence by saying: 'The Sinhala people were frustrated for years, they were discriminated (against). If the Sinhala is the majority race, why can't they be the majority?''' (India Today, 31 August 1983) ''In Mount Lavinia, a suburb of Colombo, thugs were led by (a) UNP Councillor... In the Maradana area of Colombo, thugs brought in from upto 100 miles away and loyal to Prime Minister R. Premadasa.... and Industries Minister Cyril Mathew were identified by eye witnesses.'' (New Statesman, 28 August 1983) | "..The news from Sri Lanka this week has recalled the horrifying events leading up to the division of India thirty-six years ago. The Hindu-Muslim- Sikh massacres of that time are reflected in the bloodshed, arson, looting that has sent thousands of innocent Tamils running for safety wherever they can find it. They are, it must be emphasized, a minority community whose status as citizens of Sri Lanka should be unquestionable. Unhappily, ever since Sri Lanka became independent in 1948, the current of Sinhalese nationalism has turned with envious anger on this community that played a part in Sri Lanka's political and professional life under British rule out of proportion to its numbers. The most recent events have revealed a culpable bias on the part of the forces of Order... Early reports of rioting in Colombo before censorship was imposed agreed that the police were slow to intervene. Reports of action by naval units in Trincomalee and some recent army actions have suggested that reprisals were their aim, more likely to stimulate than to pacify. Worse than this, evidence of official Sinhalese hostility to the Tamils has been the government's failure to respond to the palpable tension aroused two months ago when municipal and parlimentary by elections were held. The campaign was said to be more like civil war than an election." (The London Times Editorial 27 July 1983) | ''...Police units were not sent in until well after the rioting began and made few immediate attempts to check the mass arson and looting that spread through the city. At twilight ... bands still roamed the city and fires were still being started'' (Guardian, 26 July 1983) "..Throughout the early hours of the violence, it was clear that neither police nor defence forces had been given orders to re-establish control. My friends reported how police and troops could be seen on street corners watching the lawlessness spread. At one point several army vehicles drove through the city, packed with troops who shouted encouragement to the rioters..." (London Daily Telegraph, 26 July 1983)
8: The Exodus - Taken by a visiting European tourist, the picture shows Tamil refugees arriving by ship from Colombo in the Jaffna Peninsula | They are away from fundamental rights - A refugee camp in Trincomalee "Understand all persons in refugee camps in Trincomalee victims of racial disturbances in several areas removed from camps at midnight yesterday by service personnel without consent and against their free will to unknown destinations apparently outside Trincomalee district (stop) Lodge very strong protest against manner of removal and action taken (stop) Regret that such decision taken without prior information to me and during my absence from Trincomalee (stop) Out of about two hundred affected families more than hundred families are citizens and occupied land alienated to them on state permits or private lands (stop) Such families wanted to be rehabilitated on their own lands (stop) Action taken unjustifiably deprives them of this right (stop) More than fifty other families comprise of citizens who have occupied lands for many years and were entitled to have such occupation regularised (stop) Such persons too wanted to be rehabilitated on these lands (stop) most of even others were in occupation of lands for long periods (stop) action taken complete violation of fundamental rights and deliberately discriminatory and wrongful against Tamil people (stop) action taken tantamounts to endorsement of violence unleashed on Tamil people and would encourage such further violence (stop) perpetrators of violence bound to occupy such lands and deprive Tamil people of such lands (stop) Strongly urge that all these persons be brought back to Trincomalee forthwith and steps taken to rehabilitate them on such lands. — Sampanthan, member of parliament, Trincomalee.
9: N Sivalingam (37) one of eleven killed killed by the army at Thirunelveli on 24 July 1983 ''The violence on Friday July 29th was of horrifying proportions and I heard eye witness accounts of terrible atrocities. Cars were stopped.. and if Tamils were in the cars, they were burned inside them, petrol was poured over people and they were set alight, people were also burned in their houses and were hacked to death.'' (Patricia Hyndman, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of New South Wales and Secretary, Lawasia Human Rights Standing Committee Report -Democracy in Peril, June 1985) ''In Colombo nine Tamils were burnt to death yesterday at the main railway station in front of European tourists while plans were being discussed to ship thousands of Tamil refugees out of the capital by sea..'' (Guardian, 29 July 1983)
10: Not a scrap yard but debris of a car, a cycle and other property set ablaze by vengeful Sri Lanka soldiers in Jaffna - Indian Express, 2 August 1983 | A.Seevaratnam (47) shot by the army at Manipay on 24 July 1983 (l) and Thaventhiran (19) shot by Army at Thirunelveli on 24 July 1983 (r) | Two state owned buses filled with petrol were used to burn down the Muthu Mariamman Temple at Matale on 28 July 1983 | A.Seevaratnam (47) shot by the army at Manipay on 24 July 1983 (l) and Thaventhiran (19) shot by Army at Thirunelveli on 24 July 1983 (r)
11: Sinhala mob dancing around a Tamil youth, stripped naked, before pouring petrol and burning him to death, in Borella, Colombo, at 1.30 am on 24 July 1983. The sign Board reads 'New Parliament'. | Thamby Thuraisamy (50) Lorry Driver | Rajakanthan and Suntharavathanan, both students shot by Sri Lanka army on 24 July 1983 at Manipay
12: Sinhala women and children did not escape the urge to loot - small children carry away a loaded suitcase - Tamil Times, November 1983 | A Tamil after having been murdered being burnt on a road not very far from the private residence of President Jayawardene at Ward Place Colombo 7 - Tamil Times, November 1983 | After looting the first house and setting it on fire, the looters are busy emptying the contents of the opposite house. They are helping themselves to an electric cooker.
13: Sinhala mobs celebrate the burning of Tamil shops on 25 July at 12.30 a.m. - Tamil Times, November 1983 | Another scene of looting - the size or weight of articles did not matter. Articles froma Tamil house including beds and dressing table being carried away. Tamil Times, November 1983 | Looters carry away a refrigerator. This taking place during curfew hours in the presence of a large crowd - Tamil Times, November 1983 | Anthonypillai Vimalathasan (29) Thampoe Kothandavani (40) M. Sinnathamby 24, 3 of the 4 shot by the arm at Sandilipay on 24 July 1983
14: "Smoke from hundreds of shops, offices, warehouses and homes blew idly over Colombo yesterday. Any business, any house belonging to or occupied by a Tamil has been attacked by gangs of goondas and the resulting destruction looks like London after a heavy night's attention from the Luftwaffe. The sharp smell of destruction fills the nostrils and the roads beneath the feet crunch with broken glass. Cars and lorries lie at ungainly angles across the footways. In Pettah, the old commercial heart of the city, row after row of sari boutiques, electronic dealers, rice sellers, car parts stores, lie shattered and scarred... government officials yesterday estimated that 20,000 businesses had been attacked in the city." (The Guardian, 28 July 1983) ''About 100 industrial plants were severly damaged or destroyed, including 20 garment factories. The cost of industrial reconstruction was estimated at 2,000 million rupees (£55 million). This did not include damaged shops.'' (The Guardian, 9 August 1983)