TAMIL STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM IN SRI LANKA
A PHOTO ALBUM
CONTINUED VIOLENCE AGAINST TAMILS
The Tamils in the tea plantations (who had been rendered stateless by the 1949 citizenship acts) also became the target of recurrent Sinhala mob violence.
Over the years, the violence against the Plantation Tamils intensified and in the seventies more than 300,000 fled to India.
"... It is clear that the subsequent violence in July and August which was directed against Sri Lanka Tamils in the east and south of the country and the Indian Tamil tea estate workers in the central region, was not random. It was stimulated, and in some cases organized, by members of the ruling UNP, among them intimates of the President."
- The Observer, London, 20 September 1981
Two Tamils murdered and thrown in a ditch (1979)
"A tragedy is taking place in Sri Lanka; the political conflict following upon recent elections, is turning into a racial massacre. It is estimated by reliable sources that between 250 and 300 Tamils have lost their lives."
- Sir John Foster, David Astor, Robert Birley, Louis Blom-Cooper, James Fawcett, Dingle Foot, Michael Scott
20 September 1977
A voluntary organization (Gandhyam) helped settle some of the affected Tamils in the Tamil homelands.
Dr. Rajasunderam, President of the Gandhyam movement (2nd right) at a tea plantation.
Dr. Rajasunderam was arrested and killed inside a government prison in 1983
"Amnesty International has itself interviewed one Tamil detainee who survived the killing and has received a sworn statement from another survivor... According to the sworn statement: 'We asked these people as to why they came to kill us. To this they replied that they were given arrack (alcohol) by the prison authorities and they were asked to kill (us)."
- Amnesty International Report
The Volunteers at the Gandhyam Office
"The Police and the Army.... as many as a thousand at a time have invaded, some landing in helicopters, others driving their cars (it was like ploughing) across the new crops... Harass the settlements... The former plantation coolie...was tied, stuck in the face with fists and hung upside down from the roof beams, face bleeding for hours..."
(David Selbourne; Illustrated Weekly of India)
A newly settled plantation Tamil at a Gandhyam Farm
The Gandhyam farms (notably the Dollar & Kent farms) were taken over by the government to settle Sinhala colonizers.