OF TAMILS IN SRI LANKA
A PHOTO GALLERY
In the last fourteen years, Sri Lankas bloody civil war has claimed thousands of lives. In view of the Sri Lankan Governments inclination to underplay the numbers killed, its reluctant admission to a figure of fifty thousand deaths underscores the point that this has indeed been a brutal war.
Most of those killed were civilians. In January this year, the Tamil Tiger rebels said their losses up to the end of November 1996 stood at 9,300. The London Observer Service, has placed a similar number (9,800) on the Government side for roughly the same period. If one accepts the Sri Lankan Governments version of 50,000 as accurate, it leaves the civilian toll at a staggering 30,000.
According to the Sri Lankan State-Controlled "Daily News" of 4 March 1996, the Tamil Tigers were responsible for the deaths of 3571 (Sinhala) civilians meaning the 26,000 plus remaining civilians killed were Tamils.
It may be argued that the high toll of Tamil civilians is to be expected given that the theatre of war after all, is the Tamil Homeland in the Northeast of the Island. While this argument may well explain the deaths of civilians "caught in the cross fire", this alone can hardly account for the large scale deaths of Tamil civilians.
I believe that Tamil civilians have been singled out as part of a strategy to "beat the Tamils into submission" and that it is this strategy that has resulted in the large number of Tamil civilian deaths.
- THE AGE; 26th March, 1997. [Excerpt]