TIMELINE: Sri Lanka’s civil war resulted in the loss of Tamil history

Apr 25, 2023 | International News, News

An almost three-decade war left the Tamil population in Sri Lanka in shambles. An Internal review report by the UN said near the end of the war around 70,000 Tamils were killed.

According to the report, in North-East Sri Lanka mass graves were uncovered, around 31 bodies were found in one grave in a Tamil area where the final stages of the war took place.

The civil war started in July 1983 and ended in May 2009.

“Black July” of 1983 and the Mullivaikkal Massacre of 2009, were two historical events that led to the death and disappearances of Tamils.

According to PEARL, a nonprofit organization which advocates for the human rights of Eelam Tamils, Black July resulted in the first large mass departure of Tamils, as 500,000 Tamils escaped the island.

PEARL reports ‘Black July’ resulted in a minimum of 3,000 Tamils killed by Sinhalese mobs, around 500 Tamil women raped, 150,000 Tamils displaced, and Tamil families burned alive.

The 2009 Mullivaikkal Massacre occurred near the end of the war where Tamils were attacked in No Fire Zones. According to a 2010 report around 300,000 Tamils were imprisoned in camps and over 40,000 were reported dead.

Today due to the war and the constant erasure of Tamil history, many Tamils are left not knowing the history of their ancestors.

Here is a look at some of the historic events that took place during the civil war that resulted in the ethnic cleansing of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka.