The July 1983 Riots that Created a Collective Trauma 
Posted on July 22nd, 2016

Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge. 

 With Black July, dawned the era of gun culture, disappearances, child soldiers, collapse of rule of law and erosion of democracy. Within the first ten years of UNP rule from 1977, the draconian Constitution was further strengthened with 16 further constitutional amendments – with the two notorious 4th and 6th.”

 Dew Gunasekara- General Secretary Communist Party of Sri Lanka

 Race riot is a form of collective violence caused by hatred for one another of members of different races in the same community.  In the 20th Centaury alone there had been over 300 racial riots reported from most parts of the World. Among these   Denver Riots 1901, Toronto riots against Greeks in 1918, Brisbane riots 1942, Singapore riots in 1950, Dutschke Easter Riots in Germany 1968, May thirteenth race riots in Malaysia 1969 , Southall riots in England 1979, Black July in Sri Lanka 1983,  Los Angeles Riots 1992,  Tutsi massacres in Rwanda 1994, Anti Immigrant riots in Spain 2000  represent a huge proportions  of man made disasters.

Mukami McCrum of the Central Scotland Racial Equality Council defines racial violence as follows…..

The use of violence as a method of control and domination of those who are deemed to be inferior and powerless is practiced in many cultures, societies and countries of the world. Racial violence differs from other forms of violence in that the root causes are to do with assumption of superiority and dislike of other people who are deemed to be inferior because of their identity, ethnic origin, nationality, national origins or descent; and because of their appearance and physical characteristics such as colour, language and dress.  

Riots typically involve assaults, murders, vandalism and the destruction of private and public property. The Philosopher, historian and political economist Pierre-André Taguieff debates that racism and racial hatred is based on xenophobia and ethnocentrism (evaluate other cultures in terms of one’s own).  The distinction between one specific ethnic group and one outside that ethnic group gives rise to feelings of fear, hatred, and rejection. It is a primitive feeling, which came through the human evolution. One outside the ethnic group identifies as an alien and feelings of dangerousness and absolute possession projects onto the uncanny stranger.

From the Freudian perspective, there are fundamental tensions between civilization and the individual. Freud identifies aggression and killings as humankind’s primitive instincts. According to Freud, violence is deemed as the basis of human existence on two levels; the violence in the uninhibited instinct and the violence, which the culture practices against one another.

According to the Sociologist Noël A. Cazenave, racism is a highly organized system of ‘race’-based group privilege that operates at every level of society and is held together by a sophisticated ideology of color/’race’ supremacy.  Racial tensions frequently link with poverty, economic recessions and unemployment. Often riots are instigated by the extremist groups and they use mob elements to commit violence.

Psychologist Arnold Goldstein   defined a mob as a crowd acting under strong emotional conditions that often lead to violence or illegal acts.” He further explained that a riot is an instance of mob violence, with the destruction of property or looting, or violence against people.”  To Goldstein, mobs are the product of a process of evolution” and they are formed by people sharing the same conscious or unconscious needs. Psychologists have observed that riots develop a life of their own once they begin. The first stage of the riot is an attack on property and the riot then moves to attacks on people. As the riot grows and more people join in, the duration of the riot depends on the resistance met by rioters, their organization and leadership, the success” of their violence and the degree to which extant authorities send permissive signals encouraging continuance or vigorously intervene.” The riot may also spread to other areas, sometimes distant from the precipitating site, (The Psychology of the Wilmington Riot)

The Black July

In July 1983, communal violence erupted in Sri Lanka and between 400-3000 Tamils were killed (Frances Harrison BBC correspondent in Colombo). However, some claim that the number of people who got killed in 1983 were less than 500 and later these numbers were exaggerated by various agencies. But these numbers do not minimize the viciousness of the race riots of 1983. The Black July was a highly organized mob violence that had political backing. Following the conflict, more than 18,000 houses and numerous commercial establishments were destroyed. The property damage was estimated over $300 million US Dollars. More than 150,000 Tamils fled the island-seeking asylum in India, USA, Canada, UK and Australia.

In 1984 Paul Sieghart, the Chairman of the British Section of the International Commission of Jurists stated his views on Black July. He stated that   the Black July   was not a spontaneous upsurge of communal hatred among the Sinhala people. It was a series of deliberate acts, executed in accordance with a concerted plan, conceived and organized well in advance.

Tirunaveli ambush – The immediate catalyst for the racial riots 

On the 15th of October 1981, Tamil militants killed two soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army and from 1981 to 1983 July; nearly 35 members of the armed forces were killed in the North. The militants disrupted the civil administration.  Public transport was crippled due to setting CTB buses on fire. Banks were robed. The tension was rising in the South. The killing of 13 soldiers including the Second Lieutenant Vaas Gunewardene of the 1stbattalion of Sri Lanka Light Infantry at the Tirunaveli junction became an immediate catalyst for the racial riots.  Violence broke out in Borella and spread to other areas.

Political Hands behind the Black July

Some historians point out that the racial violence against Tamils in 1983 had a political backing or a politically sponsored program against Tamils. Some politicians facilitated unprecedented violence. According to Professor Rajan Hoole several weeks prior to the Black July the former Minister of Fisheries Mr. Festus Perera had mentioned to his supporters at the Browns Beach Hotel that let them wait a few weeks , they will learn a good lesson” which meant that   a mass attack against Tamil civilians would be launched soon. When the clashes broke out some cabinet ministers, local politicians, and their henchmen launched violent attacks against Tamil civilians openly. The perpetrators used voter lists containing home addresses to make precise attacks on the Tamil houses.

Violence against Tamil Students at the Peradeniya University in 1983 May

Nearly two months before the Black July Tamil students of the Peradeniya University were savagely assaulted by a group of Sinhalese students led by W.A.D.T. (Thulsie) Wickremasinghe and A. Ekanayake –   4th year science students from Arunachalam Hall and another group led by Dr. S. Gamage, a passed out dentist who was motivated by personal considerations. (Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of Power: Myths, Decadence and Murder – Rajan Hoole). The violence against the Tamil Students at the Peradeniya University could have had links with assaults and expulsion of the Sinhalese students from the Jaffna University by some radical Tamil students in early years. In 1976, the University Registrar Mr Wimal Sundara was beaten and chased out from the university by these radical groups. Although the university’s head, K Kailasapathy wanted to maintain the multiethnic character in the Jaffna University by 1978 most of the Sinhalese students of the Jaffna University were moved to other universities.

Weilkada Prison Massacre

On the 25th  of July 1983, prison riots  broke out and thirty-seven Tamil prisoners who were detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act were murdered by the inmates. Within a few days, the second riot erupted and further 15 prisoners were killed. Following the riots Selvarajah Yogachandran, (Kuttimuni )   Thangathurai,  and Jegan  lost their lives.

 Fr. Philip Anton Sinnarasa of St. John’s, Church Delft was arrested under the PTA and kept under detention at the Welikada Prison. He was one of the very few survivors of the 1983 Welikada prison massacre. He had published his experience in a web page – Remembering silenced voices Black July 83.

I remember that on the first day, the 25th, we were brought outside of our cell and we could see that the whole sky was in smoke. There were big riots taking place outside. We also heard that there was a lot of burning and killing going on.

 That evening, we a heard a lot of screaming and crying. We quickly found out that there was an attack on the political prisoners in the Chapel section. All the Singhalese criminals were let out. They took whatever they could, and they were killing the Tamil prisoners. 35 people were massacred on this day. 

…..Eventually the army came in and fired tear gas. It was a closed building, so we were also affected, but they were able to chase the criminals outside. The soldiers came in with guns to see whether we too had done anything. We were asked to kneel down. We didn’t know what was going to happen. We thought that they were going to just finish us off! Luckily, a high-ranking officer came and he ordered us all to leave.

Sepala Ekanayaka ’s  involvement in the Weilkada Prison Massacre

Sepala Ekanayaka earned the title to become the first Sri Lankan to hijack an aircraft. In 1982, Sepala Ekanayake hijacked an Alitalia aircraft with 300 passengers on board and he threatened to blow up the aircraft unless his demands were met.  His major request was to reunite with his Italian wife and his son Free Ekanayaka. After his demands were made, Sepala Ekanayaka came to Sri Lanka with his family. He received a hero’s welcome by the public. Sepala Ekanayaka could not enjoy his freedom with his family for a long time. After he returned to Sri Lanka Sepala was arrested and indicted.  He had to serve a prison term at the Welikada prison.

Professor Rajan Hoole the author of – Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of Power: Myths, Decadence and Murder indicates that Sepala Ekanayake was involved in prison riots.  When the Commandos entered the Welikad prison to prevent prisoners escaping Sepala Ekanayake went in front of Major Sunil Peris of the Commando Unit and showed him a human part, which could have been removed from a Tamil prisoner. The officer was horrified and assaulted Sepala Ekanayake. The detainee Prof Nithyanandan too had confirmed that he saw Sepala with the other inmates who attacked the Tamil prisoners. According to Professor Rajan Hoole, some jailors (Rogers Jayasekere, Samitharatne alias Samitha Rathgama) played a key role conspiring the massacre.

(Soon after the 1983, Weilkada Prison riots Sepala Ekanayake made a public statement and denied any participation of the measures. He was released in 1987. )

The media propaganda that ignited the racial conflict 

The  media played a crucial role in the 1983 riots. The local media fuelled the tensions between two groups. These newspapers used ethnic stereotyping and ethnic prejudices as well as dramatization of ethnic events to keep high emotions.

When the terrorism was emerging in the North some Sinhala newspapers  took a dramatic turn and started spreading  hateful words and racist propaganda. This may be a response to some Tamil newspapers that spread racially motivated emotions against the Sinhalese population. The newspapers of both sides attempted to influence public opinion through igniting racial hatred.

6 – 8 weeks before the Welikada prison massacre one article appeared in   a  Sunday newspaper that carried the title – Siragedara Balkana Maheshakyo (The Privileged who have a good time at the Prison) In this article the writer  had   heavily criticized the prison authorities for giving extra comforts to the Tamil prisoners who were detained under the PTA at the Weikada prison. This article could have made an impact on the Welikada prison massacre.

Media and Racial Violence- Example from Rwanda

How the media can control the minds of the people in a period with racial tension?  Allan Thompson gives a detailed account in his book Media and the Rwandan Genocide.

In March 1992, Radio Rwanda was first used in directly promoting the killing of Tutsi in a place called Bugesera, south of the national capital. On 3 March, the radio repeatedly broadcast a communiqué supposedly sent by a human rights group based in Nairobi warning that Hutu in Bugesera would be attacked by Tutsi. Local officials built on the radio announcement to convince Hutu that they needed to protect themselves by attacking first. Led by soldiers from a nearby military base, Hutu civilians, members of the Interahamwe, a militia attached to the MRND party, and local Hutu civilians attacked and killed hundreds of Tutsi (International Commission 1993: 13–14).

The role of the radio in inciting killing demonstrated the importance of controlling the media. Opposition parties, having proved their strength in massive street demonstrations, were able to push Habyarimana into conceding to them the right to participate in government and one of the ministries they wanted to control was a newly created ministry of information. In the new coalition government formed just after the Bugesera massacre, a member of one of the opposition parties was named to head this ministry. He gradually instituted policies meant to end the MRND monopoly on the media and to guarantee equal access to members of other political parties. Nahimana was removed as head of the information office and so lost control of the radio as well (Chrétien 1995: 61).

The Eye Witnesses  Accounts of the Black July

 Sanjeevan Selladurai

I was returning home from grade 5 scholarship exam on 1983 July 23rd. The day was horrible. Everywhere it looked clouded with smoke. I rushed  home around 12:30 p.m. and found everyone looking tense. Around 3:00 P.M, a mob of 50 people came to my home and started beating my brothers. My mother tried getting in front of them to protect them but still two of my elder brothers were beaten with wooden sticks. All the neighbors simply looked on and enjoyed the scene. Only one person named Kakka who was Sinhalese, came forward and talked for us. He asked the thugs to leave the place immediately. 

I think we are all alive today because of that single person. Later, we were taken to his house and we were there for 3 days. Then, we decided to move to a refugee camp set up within the St. Lucia Church in Kotehena and then we went to Jaffna by a cargo ship called Lanka Kalyani. It took 3 days to reach KKS and we all were starving inside the ship without any food or water.

(Sanjeevan Selladurai  who is a Sri Lankan Canadian had published his experiences in the web page –  Remembering silenced voices Black July 83)

 A student who witnessed the events at Boralla and Maradana

It was a Monday morning and I was going to school. Our bus suddenly stopped in front of the AF Raymond’s building and we saw a vehicle that was burnt in the middle of the road. The driver stopped the bus and we all got down. I walked up to the Borella junction and saw many destroyed shops. The firefighters were trying to extinguish the BCC building that was on fire. I overheard someone was telling that the fire fighters saved a Tamil girl and her mother who were trapped on the top floor. 

I met some of my schoolmates there and we walked towards Maradana. Near Kupiyawattha Rd I saw Tamil wedding photographs thrown on the ground. We presumed that the looters had taken the photo album throwing the wedding photos. That was an awful thing to do, destroying wedding photographs – someone’s memorable event of life.

Maradana was full of flames. We climbed the Marada  overhead bridge to get a clear view. I saw the crowd assaulting a man probably a Tamil. He fell down and over 25 people assaulted him. There were several policemen on the street, but they did not pay any attention and controlled the traffic turning their back. 

A Resident at W.A Silva Mawatha -Wellawattha – The invisible Perpetrator

Several weeks before the 1983 July riots, I went to buy some food items at the nearby boutique. The shop owner who was a Tamil told me that a little while ago, he listened to the Kotihanda (the voice of the Tigers) and their boys are attacking the Army. He said this in a proud and daring voice to insult me.  I was so furious but speechless. When the riots stated after several weeks,  a group of mob came to our area and attacked Tamil shops. I went near one of the ringleaders, showed the boutique, and said in that boutique you will find a Tiger supporter, go and teach him a lesson” The mob went and attacked that boutique.  Within a few minutes, I could see the flames.

(The invisible perpetrator revealed this story  soon after the 83 communal riots)  

 The Plight of Dr. Emerson

Dr Emerson was a respected Tamil dentist lived in Colpetty near the Liberty cinema. When the violence started the local gangs gave him an assurance that he would not be touched. However, Monday afternoon a group of mob from another area attacked his house. Although Dr. Emerson his wife and children escaped without any physical harm, their house was burnt.  The Emerson family came to Milagiriya and stayed in a relative’s house. In the evening, another group of thugs came to attack the relative’s house in Milagiriya.   A Sinhalese neighbor came forward and gave them shelter. Dr. Emerson’s young daughters and son were hidden inside  the Sinhala neighbor\s house until the mob went away. The kind neighbor gave rice and other dry rations to the Emersons. On the second day, Emerson Family went to a refugee camp. After a few months, the entire family got asylum in UK. After living in UK for several years, Dr. Emerson died in United Kingdom as a refugee.

The Story of a System Analyst

 A 28 year-old systems analyst, a Sri Lankan Tamil who wishes to remain unidentified, had an even ghastlier experience to relate: ‘That morning, we were having a meeting in the office when we heard the sounds of mob fury. We went out onto the balcony and what we witnessed was systematic looting and arson by a merciless mob. The leader had a voters’ list with him to identify Tamil houses. They would mark a Tamil house, forcibly enter, smash the furniture and window panes, drag the inmates out and kill them. Another passing mob would stop cars, extort petrol and set fire to what was left of the houses. I rushed home and told my parents we must leave. Hardly had I said that when we heard the next house being ransacked. We grabbed our passports and a change of clothes and rushed out. A Sinhalese swung at me with a spear. Luckily, a Sinhalese shopkeeper nearby stopped him by telling him we spoke Sinhalese and had done a lot of social work locally. It was like being born again when we got out of the country.’

 (from Tamil Nadu: Backlash” by S.H. Venkatramani. India Today. 31 August 1983, p.18)

The Tamil houses that were saved by the neighbors

When 1983 Communal riots erupted, Bambalapitya flats was the only community in Colombo, which was not affected. Sinhala dwellers of the flats protected their Tamil neighbors. Hence, not a single Tamil house was attacked. When a group of mob came to attack the Bambalapitya flats from the seaside  on the July 26, 1983 at about 3.30 pm,  a young man named Chamley Abysuriya and a group of Sinhala boys rushed to them and  said to them in Sinhala we are attacking here you guys go somewhere else so the mob believed them  and went towards Wellawatte. Soon the Sinhala youth of Bambalapitiya flats organized a vigilant service to protect the lives and property of their Tamil neighbours. Gamini Walgama who is a STF officer now gave the leadership to organize the day and night vigilance service. Up-to-date no one has admired the courage and leadership demonstrated by Chamley and Gamini Walgama on the 26th  of July 1983. 

Are you a Sinhalese? 

A group of mob were screening people to find Tamils in July 1983 and one person was stopped. The leader asked from the man   Are you a Sinhalese?” The man said yes , to verify the man’s identity further the mob leader asked the man to say Buddunta Wandina Gathawa Kiyanava – (tell me the stanza that you warship the Lord Buddha )  the man said the correct stanza and he was released.  Then the man asked from the mob leader Are you a Sinhalese?” The mob leader arrogantly answered  Yes. Then the man had asked from the leader Ok tell me the stanza that you say to the Lord Buddha when you offer him flowers.  The mob leader was thunderstruck he did not know the stanza.

(This incident was reported by the late Mr. Amitha Abesekara- the journalist Island Newspaper)

The Truth Commission

In 2001, the President Chandrika Kumaratunge appointed the Truth Commission under the chairmanship of the former Chief Justice, Mr. S Sharvananda and the commission made some recommendations. But unlike in South African Truth and Reconciliation committee the 1983 Truth Commission was unable to reach the hearts and minds of the general public and it could not make a deep impact in our society. The Truth Commission of Sri Lanka failed to promote national unity and reconciliation. The commission failed to achieve its goals.

The psychological effects of Black July

The Black July created a collective trauma among the Tamils that lasted for a long time. It was a  shock wave that gave a destructive domino effect. People encountered and witnessed horrific events beyond usual human experience. Many victims had faced NDE experiences that affected their psychological wellbeing. Some victims still suffer from the psychological repercussions of the Black July. Most of the victims lost the sense of trust. Some have deposited deep hatred and resentment towards Sinhalese people. Many youth joined the militant groups to retaliate. Some actively took part in anti-Sinhalese propaganda exhibiting deep-rooted prejudice.

Professor Rajan Hoole points out the anger and revulsion exhibited by some Tamil expatriates revealing the deep-rooted prejudice of   Fr Sinnarasa

Fr. Sinnarasa who escaped to India in September 1983 distanced himself from the LTTE for several years, but is now in North America campaigning for the LTTE in a spirit of blind hatred not different from that which moved the Cyril Mathews of July 1983. (Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of Power: Myths, Decadence and Murder – Rajan Hoole).

The experience of the racial riots 1983 made long-lasting negative impression on the minds of the victims, their family, community and society as a whole. The psychological scars of the Black July was passed on from person to person in the community and remembered by generations to come.  Therefore reconciliation and peace building has become utterly difficult.

How did the Sinhalese people react to the Black July? The majority of Sinhalese people did not approve such brutal attacks against the Tamil people and many risked their lives to save the Tamil neighbors. Many years after this tragic event, Sinhalese people are still trying to dis-associate with the Black July. These hurtful and guilty feelings were repressed to the collective Sinhalese unconscious and scheme of silence has been maintained. Many Sinhalese educated masses are reluctant to talk about the Black July. Some Sinhalese fractions argue that the Black July occurred due to the provocation by the Tamil minority and justify it with the mass violence such as Arantalawa massacre ,the Gongala Massacre,  Central Bank bombing etc  that were unleashed against the Sinhalese people  But these fractions do not understand one thing . That is one crime does not erase another.  This form of an eye for an eye does not represent the mainstream thinking.


The Black July 1983 created a collective trauma in Sri Lanka and it affected the country’s political, economical, social and moral structures. It escalated further violence distancing Sinhalese and Tamil people hindering the development and advancement of Sri Lanka. The racial violence of the 83 tarnished the image of Sri Lanka changing the course of the nation’s history. The Black July 1983 taught many bitter lessons to the Sri Lankans. Now the time has come to these two groups to rectify the past errors, think, and work for a common peaceful future.

15 Responses to “The July 1983 Riots that Created a Collective Trauma ”

  1. Christie Says:

    Ruwan, who killed the unarmed officials that lead to what you are saying. What you are saying is a collection of work done and still being done by the Indian Empire, Indian colonial parasites and their Sinhalese followers.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    India was training Indian terrorists long before the July massacre of Sinhala officers in Jaffana.

    Ruwan you say “The killing of 13 soldiers including the Second Lieutenant Vaas Gunewardene of the 1stbattalion of Sri Lanka Light Infantry at the Tirunaveli junction became an immediate catalyst for the racial riots. Violence broke out in Borella and spread to other areas.”

    What you do not say intentionally is the soldiers were off duty and were unarmed. The killers were trained and armed by the Indian intelligence service the Third Eye of Indian Union the most secretive and ruthless in the world. Look at how Indian interests are managing the butchering of innocent Kashmiris who were peacefully protesting against the killing of an unarmed young man claimed by India as a terrorist. Indian interest have managed to even influence the Facebook in this event that is ongoing as I make this comment.

    Ruwan what you have written and what you are quoting is not new it is part of the work of the Indian Empire, Indian colonial parasites, Indian vermin and other who benefits from them.

  2. S.Gonsal Says:

    You are making too many reference to words of Rajan Hoole. I don’t believe his claims are credible. I have seen in many occasions he exaggerated, subtly twisted meanings to prove his points.

    I know on Sinhala youth from South, who worked as worker in a small shop worked very hard and built a trading conglomerate. Although it is his hard work, good qualities mainly responsible for his success, he got a kick start being able to buy a cheap land form a Tamil family left Colombo suburbs. I am sure there are some economic benefits that arrived at many Sinhalese from so called “black july”.

    What is not discussed in your writing is the Tamil conspiracy which said to have orchestrated riots. Since most of the writings are from Tamils, unfortunately, we may never know the truth.

  3. Christie Says:

    Dr Ruwan if you are writing this from a medical practitioners view you will be listening to the majority of the patients who are Sinhalese. This trauma is not limited to Ceylon, you find people in the same situation in other Indian colonies.

  4. Christie Says:

    This was not racism, it was an uprising against the Indian colonists who are in fact are Indian colonial parasites and the Indian Empire.

  5. Christie Says:

    Browsin the WWW Rajan Hoole appears to be one of the many who set the stage for the killing of unarmed soldiers in July. He is a Mathematics professor like the other Mathematics Professor who is dubbed the God Father of Tamil Terrorism a man who could talk to Indira Gandhi’s Office directly’

    Rajan Hoole’s Father is a Priest I am sure was connected with the World Council of Churches.

    World Council of Churches had their International Gathering in July 1983 and the killing of unarmed soldiers was part of the Indian intelligence work.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    Tamil leaders are never held accountable either by UN agencies or by local govt people for the Vadukoddai Resolution of 1976 which started the Tamil Youth in the wrong direction of Separatism through Violence.

    Ordinary Tamils of the North have been fighting Caste Wars prior to the Vadukoddai Resolution of 1976 – this is an aspect inherited from Tamil Nadu. Anger from the Caste bind was switched to the violence encouraged by V’koddai Resoln.

    Sri Lanka has never had anything to do with the propagation of the Caste structure of Tamil people which is 3,000 yrs old.

    But Sri Lanka pays dearly, again and again, for problems from INDIA and other foreign powers.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    NOTE THAT The Vadukoddai Resolution (of 1976) – Eelam through Violence – happened before the 1983 Riots. !!


    View of the Riots as an Observer :

    We do not approve of any Riots anywhere. Problems must be sorted out without need for Riots. The 1983 Riots were shameful and only the innocents suffered, and a chain reaction of events were started out of those Riots. The Tamils who fled westward (around a million) today form the Tamil Diaspora who push for Separatism. The only way Tamil people could enter the west in huge numbers was to go there as Refugees. Was a Tamil Refugee crisis purposely created through the Riots of 1983 ?

    Repeat :

    Films were made of the 1983 Riots and shown in the western capitals to VIPS in London, Paris & Bonn by then 3 Tamil Ambassadors there (Moorthy, Balachandran & Lakshami Naganathan). Some of the Sinhala rioters were dressed up in white jatawa and tucked up white sarong to identify as Sinhala people – we saw them. One such fellow carrying a wooden pole held horizontally swung from side to side, wide (wild) eyed and dazed looking – likely drugged.

    Who is to be blamed for the Riots of 1983 ?

    Blame the forces that forced the JRJ govt into the Riots of 1983. J. N. Dixit (Catholic person, born in Channai) was not called the Viceroy of Lanka for nothing ! He died of heart trouble when the Tsunami stuck Sri Lanka, decimating the Sea Tigers and carrying away Prabhakaran.
    Cyril Mathew, then Min of Industries, had a lot to do with the Riots of 1983 too. I still recall a Time magazine cover page of that time carried a picture of JRJ with a tear in the shape of Lanka falling from one eye – this picture spoke volumes – that JRJ was forced to comply with the Riots against his wishes. Cold War politics had a lot to do with events in Lanka. Former British PM David Cameron famously said that ‘most of the problems of the world today is due to Britain …’

    Without the compliance of the GoSL at that time, the 1983 Riots would never have occurred to that extent. Even if it happened in a spontaneous way, the JRJ govt could have quickly declared Emergency and Curfew and curtailed the rioting. This did not happen for 3 days or so.

    We ourselves protected an empty Tamil home down our road and brought home with us a Tamil office co-worker. Many Sinhala people risked their lives to save Tamil folk and guarded their property and valuables. The official figure of dead was around 300 Tamil people.

    Such shameful and ugly acts must never occur in Lanka.

    At least at this late stage, have an Oath of Allegiance to Lanka to be taken by one and all, once a day, till problems clear up.

    It would certainly help if both parties concerned (UNP & Tamil leaders) apologised to the People of Lanka.
    We understand that CBK has apologised twice to the Tamil people – probably for the war with the LTTE during her time as President.

  8. Christie Says:

    Fran; India was setting the stage for destroying the Sinhalese from 1951. The riots were the result of Indian manipulation of Sinhalese over the years.

    Any fool will know when their own people were butchered, in this case the Sinhala soldiers who were gunned down by Indian trained and armed Tamil gunmen their kith and kin will rebel. The Sinhalese Buddhists, Christians and Muslims were hurt. It was the Tamils and other Indian who set fire to their own properties in Colombo from the inside of the buildings. Then they took photos and sent them to news papers in the West. I know for a fact the Fairfax group of papers in Australia and a Canadian Conrad Black conglomerate and British Guardian were in the hands of India. There was an Indian agent working for the Fairfax Group in Australia. They were operative long before the 1983 Sinhala uprising against the Indian colonial parasites.

    The writer and commentators might say that Jaffna University riots were caused by the Sinhala mobs.

    Time to understand the Indian Empire and India colonial parasites.

  9. Fran Diaz Says:

    Hi Christie,

    Thanks for response.

    I really don’t think INDIA is intent on destroying Sri Lanka – I think INDIA wants to remove all perceived threats from Lanka which started off with TAMIL NADU trying to break away from INDIA.

    * TAMIL NADU problems with INDIA have impinged on Lanka. TAMIL NADU has problems within their state too, from Caste/poverty lines.

    * All this has affected Sri Lanka very much as Lanka has earlier over millions & a half of Indentured Tamil Labor from Tamil Nadu brought by the British & the Dutch for the Tea & Tobacco planations industry.

    * These problems have been exacerbated by the Cold War politics.
    So, it is all of the above reasons plus the political idealogies of Cold War times,
    as well as the geographically fixed locations of INDIA & Lanka that have determined the inimical attitudes of INDIA toward Lanka.

    * INDIA now works mostly with the West.

    Lanka’s problem: How do Lanka Leaders keep the East/West/INDIA tri-party powers balanced whilst keeping Security & Economic issues balanced within Lanka ?

    Most Important that –

    From now on, we have to make sure that all the Citizens of Lanka are loyal to Lanka first, to ensure our survival for all policy, with no enemies, within or without.

    Suggestion : Start with the Daily Oath of Allegiance to Lanka first, to be taken by all who are old enough to speak ?

    What do you think ?

    Any ideas from anyone how to unify the Country & the People, without going into either Fascism or Communism ?

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    read as ” … to ensure survival for all people, with no enemies ….”

  11. SA Kumar Says:

    View of the Riots as an Observer :-riot would have been stopped if JRJ had imposed curfew with in 24 hours but he did 7 days later so he & his ministers want all of Tamils to kicked out from South (Sinhala Lanka) to NEP (TE).

    Now who put first stone to VP’S dream !!!

    never mind now all over now .

    live & let’s live in United Motherlanka no short cut again like JRJ idea my sinhala sakodaraYAS !

  12. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Jaffna Tamils lost their social culture since they started supporting political murders. Prabhakaran led LTTE was intensely fascinated by death and dead bodies. Tamil Diaspora is yet to reform and still suffering from victim-hood mentality.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:


    JRJ was FORCED to follow the Indian Envoy, Dixit, who was called the Viceroy of Sri Lanka.
    JRJ would never have allowed the Riots of 1983 – he was forced into it by INDIA.

    We were in the 1983 Riots. We now know the facts.

    In Cold War times : INDIA ran mostly with the Sov Union while JRJ govt was very pro-west. This was in the 1980s COLD WAR times.

    Tamil Separatism was tied to the Cold War players, then and now. Due to the 1983 Riots, the Tamil Diaspora was formed.


    Get smart. Think smart. Know the facts.

  14. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sumanthiran, like other supporters of Tamil separatism, begin their accusations against the Sinhala majority only with the assaults against the Tamil Community in the South.

    They conveniently forget that the violence deliberately INITIATED by the Tamil Separatists YEARS BEFORE THAT with hit-and-run raids against Sinhala officials, Sinhala civilians and government facilities.

    He forgets to mention that it took nearly 3 years of such murder and mayhem by his beloved “boys”, who the entire Tamil Community …. even in Colombo … quietly applauded, for the pot to finally boil over in July, 1983 when the bodies of those dead soldiers were brought to Colombo.

    I applaud INSTEAD the restraint and patience shown by the Sinhala people up to July, 1983 and thereafter over a 30 year period when there was no such violence. Although I also condemn the violence of the July riots, I completely understand the reasons it took place, and the CULPABILITY of Tamil Leaders of the time in not rallying around the Nation to CONDEMN & PREVENT their own people from engaging on violence that triggered it.

    They did not do that, and by their SILENCE & INACTION showed that they too shared and supported the RACIST TAMIL SEPARATIST SENTIMENT that soon grew into a full blown civil war …. with horrendous consequences for the three major communities of Sri Lanka.

    They believed THEN, as they do NOW, that they can have their own separate Tamils-only cake in Sri Lanka, and eat a share of the Sinhala cake too. They thought that with Indian support they could demolish the Sinhala armed forces, kept forever weak and demoralized by divide and rule politics in Colombo and get their EELAM. They FIGURED WRONG …. because as in the previous 3,000 years of Sri Lankan history, we Sinhalese will NOT ABANDON our Motherland however long it takes to overcome our enemies.

    I am sick of these MEALY MOUTHED WEASELS and UNREPENTANT RACIST TRAITORS wailing about their pain & suffering completely ignoring that they brought everything down upon their own heads by being racist, greedy and treacherous. They have to HELD ACCOUNTABLE!

    I have had enough of these unrepentant racist murderers egging on, without LEGAL PUNISHMENT, Western Powers to counsel RECONCILIATION which is another code word for APPEASEMENT and giving the terrorists the EELAM they had failed to win through 30-years of unremitting violence and war crimes against both civilians and combatants.

    I am sick of the DOUBLE STANDARDS and HYPOCRISY of the Western Powers who, while committing war crimes all over the globe in their war on terror, refuse to let Sri Lanka ….. one of the few developing nations still committed to democracy and human rights, to defend it’s democracy and sovereignty, and enjoy its hard won peace.

    These Western Hypocrites wage global war in the name of human rights and drmocracy, to destabilize and change regimes in fa off countries, but REFUSE to SUPPORT & LEAVE ALONE one of the few democracies that has taken firm root in the developing world. They seem hellbent on convert in a democratic Sri Lanka into an anarchy must like Somalia and Libya today.

    Instead of being ASSET, democracy is INCREASINGLY becoming a LIABILITY to Sri Lanka’s survival as a unitary sovereign nation.

    I TOTALLY REJECT Sumanthiran’s statements posing as an INNOCENT WAILING VICTIM.

    He is one of those who permitted, supported and egged on the RACIST Tamil Eelam project from its very inception, through the TNA’s role as the LTTE’s political proxy in Colombo, to the present when he magically finds himself to be the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition dedicated to using that position to achieve the now defunct EELAM.

    I say to him, we will NEVER LET YOU SUCCEED in creating an EELAM in Sri Lanka.

    You will only impoverish and further destroy the Tamil Community if you try. You have an opportunity now to change your ways, but every move you make inimical to Sri Lanka’s existence as ONE Nation of ONE People sharing ONE National Destiny will rebound adversely on you and your community in the near future.


    PUNISH them SEVERELY for every TREACHEROUS MOVE! Spare the ROD and spoil the CHILD!

    There MUST NEVER BE an EELAM, in any form, in part or whole, in Sri Lanka!

    REPEAL the 13th Amendment, DISSOLVE the Provincial Councils, REJECT the ETCA, the FTA, the Hanuman Bridge and the Ramayana Religious Circuoit, and DENY ENTRY to MOST legal and ALL illegal immigrants, NOW before Sri Lanka CEASES to be Land of the proud and sovereign Sinhala People!

  15. Fran Diaz Says:

    We agree with Ananda.

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