Tamils worldwide will be commemorating the 37th Annual Black July Remembrance Day remembering the thousands who were massacred for being Tamils by marauding Sinhalese mobs, while the Sri Lanka Government police stood by. Tamils were hunted by these mobs armed with Sri Lanka Government voter’s lists.
Starting on July 23, 1983, armed Sinhalese mobs carrying voters’ list, unleashed a rampage and massacred over 3,000 Tamils in Sri Lanka. After remaining silent during a week-long orgy of violence directed against defenceless Tamil men, women, and children, the London Daily Telegraph quoted then Sinhalese President J.R. Jayawardena responding “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna (Tamil) people, now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion… The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here… Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy,” signifying tacit approval of the Sri Lankan government. These mass killings and destruction of Tamil-owned property and businesses led the international observers including the International Commission of Jurists to declare these acts of “Black July” as genocide of Tamils. Nothing came of the internal inquiry and none were convicted. Thirty-seven years after the Black July pogroms that killed thousands of innocent Tamil civilians, the Tamils living in the north and east of the country continue to endure violations of human rights and a protracted genocide to this day.
The election of President Gotabaya Rajapakse, himself a credibly accused war criminal responsible for orchestrating the May 2009 Tamil Genocide in Mullivaaikkaal, is ample evidence that the Tamil Genocide will continue at an accelerated pace under this regime. Over 146,000 Tamil civilians are still unaccounted for while the Government continues to ignore request for any information bybthekith and kin of the missing Tamils.
Eleven years after, the Tamils continue to endure not only well-documented violent persecution but also a slower and deliberate genocide aimed at destroying their culture and livelihood. The destruction of Tamil archaeological sites which are being supplanted by Buddhist relics to erase any traces of historic Tamil existence in their home land is going on at an accelerated pace. This has been orchestrated by the appointment of a Presidential Task Force on Archaeology in the Eastern Province solely composed of Sinhala Buddhist. The protracted genocide of the Tamils today is carried out through a brutal military occupation and a deliberate program of Sinhala settlements. Under the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic, the military controls all aspects of individual, social and professional life and the military occupation threatens the safety and security of the Tamils in the island.
Sri Lanka’s dismal track record on internal inquiries of these pogroms and unwillingness to punish those responsible means only an independent, impartial and international investigation is urgently needed to STOP the genocide. International intervention is urgently needed to protect the remaining Tamils from further annihilation.