IN FEBRUARY, MILITARY FORCES MOVED FORCEFULLY INTO THE TAMIL-DOMINATED AREAS IN AN ATTEMPT TO WAGE A FULL-SCALE WAR AGAINST TAMIL TIGERS AND END THE 25-YR UPRISING. Tamil Tigers are a militant group using terrorist methods of violence to fight for independence for the Tamil-dominated areas in the north and eastern parts of island. Sri Lankan Government with commanding military forces fight against subversion
What is the Cartoonist trying to say in these cartoons?
Sri Lanka Military Forces
Tamil Tiger soldiers
SRI LANKANS 3 major races SINHALESE TAMILS MOORS
SINHALESE SPEAK SINHALA; BUDDHISTS
TAMILS SPEAK TAMIL; HINDUS
Sri Lankan Tamils
Descendants of Tamils who have been living in Sri Lanka for centuries
Descendants of tea plantation workers brought in from India by the British
Descendants of Arab or Indian Muslim traders
Distribution of different racial groups in Sri Lanka Indian Tamils Sri Lankan Tamils 18% of population are Tamils
SRI LANKA The setting for a violatile situation
1798 to 1948
British Colony known as Ceylon
4 Feb 1948
22 May 1972
Officially became known as the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
SRI LANKA But why did conflict arise?
Sinhalese vs Tamils
Resettlement of Population
Political decisions that led to conflict …
1948: Indian Tamils became stateless due to amendment in citizenship clauses
1964: Indian Tamils who were stateless received help from India to become citizens of India again
This did not legalize till late 1980s and thus, not improving on the situation of the stateless Indian Tamils
‘ Sinhala only’ policy
Under the British rule, the minority English-educated Tamils were able to occupy some fo the most powerful jobs in the government service.
Eight years after independence, in 1956, Sinhala was declared as the country’s official language.
Sinhala, not English, was to be used as administrative language
Impact of the unfair laws - Peaceful demonstration against the Official language Act took place. - Supporters of the Sinhala language disrupted the demonstration. Rioting occurred and hundreds died. - What action did the government do to appease the situation?
Pact signed which made Tamil made language of national minority and used for administrative purposes in areas where there were Tamils
protests from Sinhalese which resulted in
withdrawal of pact in 1958 Violence escalated
Tamil declared national language in Sri Lankan Constitution and used mainly for administration in northern and eastern parts of the country as well as an official language.
English used as medium of communication amongst the different groups.
Second issue of contention…
Based on merit
Medium of instruction in exams: English
Sinhalese dissatisfied that there were almost as many Tamils as Sinhalese in the university medical and engineering courses
Intake into the University did not reflect population proportion in the country
After 1970, the government introduced new university admission criteria.
Measures taken to lessen Tamil students in university – what are these measures?
Consequence: significant fall in percentage of Tamil students as opposed to rise of Sinhalese students
What action did the government do to appease the situation?
Is this cartoon likely to be drawn by a Sri Lankan or a Tamil artist?
Third issue of contention…
Indian Tamils lived in highland districts
Sri Lankan Tamils located mainly in Jaffna & Batticaloa
Policy in 1950 to resettle poor Sinhalese peasants from densely populated central and southwestern parts to the Tamil-majority areas
Resettling of Sinhalese
Tamils who felt that the Sinhalese were ‘intruders in their territories’-
Soldiers who were mainly Sinhalese
Whole villages were driven out by the Sri Lankan army to be occupied by Sinhalese settlers
The new settlers were also provided protection by the army
Unhappiness amongst Tamils felt marginalized and rejected by the large-scale government resettlement schemes into these traditional areas of Tamils
Consequences of conflict..
Political consequences of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict
Tamils embarked on armed conflict
Peaceful demands made initially
1950: Federal party requested for recognition of federation of Tamil areas in the country.
1976: Tamil United Liberation Front formed to fight for independent state for the Tamils
Separate state to be known as Tamil Eelam
Rejection by government to the demands
In 1976, the militant group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers was formed to pressure the government to give in to their demands
Sinhalese also showed hostility towards Tamils through violence. Between 1981-1983 anti-Tamil riots broke out
During the 1983 riots, 13 Sinhalese soldiers were killed by the Tamil Tigers
The riots sparked a long armed conflict between government forces and Tamil Tigers in the struggle for self rule in the north and east of the country.
The internal war has been on-going for 20 years, and cost more than 60,000 lives.
Intervention from India
Initially played the role of mediator in response to 1983 riots
Mediator: neutral party who acts as peacemaker to resolve conflicts
However, peace talks between Sinhalese and Tamils (initiated by India) FAILED
In June 1987, Indian government decided to send food supplies and petroleum to help the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka
Map of Sri Lanka
BUT Sri Lankan navy turned them away
Indian Air Force decided to send their supplies through air, resulting in violation of Sri Lankan airspace
July 1987: to resolve conflict with India over the abovementioned incident, peace accord was signed. It included:
Ceasefire between Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan forces
Tamil Tigers to surrender all their arms to Indian peacekeeping troops
Merging of northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka where Tamils are dominant group
Tamil Tigers failed to abide to the agreement to surrender their weapons
Indian troops took over Tamil-dominated Jaffna
Confrontations are between Indian troops and Tamil Tigers from then onwards
Economic consequences of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict
Riots of July 1983 left many factory workers, plantation and self-employed jobless
E.g. destroying their workplaces by vandalism or burning them down
crime rate in the country rose as a large number of Sinhalese took part in vandalism, looting and burning of their places of work occurred
Investment loss from other countries
Investments play a vital role in the economic growth of Sri Lanka
However, riots in the country led to fall in investments due to the instability
Fall in tourism
Tourism is another major component of the economy in Sri Lanka
Riots=>loss of jobs=> fall of economy
Fall in tourismwhich resulted in loss of jobs and decline in the economy
Social consequences of the Sinhalese-Tamil conflict
Sri Lankan Tamils driven out of their homeland
Large-scale displacement of Tamils (in July 1983, many Tamils fled to Tamil Nadu)
In 1990s, High Security Zones (HSZ) were set up by Sri Lankan army to contain LTTE
In 1995, many Tamils fled their homes when the Sri Lankan army moved into Jaffna to take on the LTTE.
Today, many Tamils still live in overcrowded conditions in refugee camps or with relatives and friends
What is the outcome of the military offensive into the Tamil stronghold? And, how have Tamil civilians been affected?
What is the world doing about it? Can the world do anything? What has UN done to help the Tamils?