Colombo, Human Rights, Human Security, IDPs and Refugees, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Remember the Riots

TNA MP Mr. R. Sampanthan remembers the events of July 1983

Tamil National Alliance MP Mr. R. Sampanthan speaks of the anti-Tamil riots of July 1983.

Speaking of the “terrible experience for all Tamil people in Sri Lanka” he says that the riot was “premeditated pogrom… largely believed to be with the support of very influential forces within the then government”. He notes that there were Sinhalese friends who helped Tamil friends in distress and says that the riots were a “determined effort by some forces within the majority community with the support of the government to teach the Tamil people a lesson.”

Mr. Sampanthan ends by stating that only a political solution, not violence, will bring about an end to the conflict.

For more videos remembering the events of July 1983, please visit the the Remember 1983 playlist on Vikalpa YouTube Video.


For more articles on July 1983, please click here.

  • Nandagupta

    1983 July riots were started in Jaffna by a group of Tamil militants killing 13 members of the security forces. It did not start in Colombo or by Sinhalese. We should never forget that. At the same time I believe the government neglected its duties by not using the forces to control the ugly and most despicable acts of mobsters and gangs in other parts of the country who used this environment created by the Tamil militants in Jaffna for their personal gain. Like the most law abiding Tamil people in Jaffna, who did not approve the violent acts of Tamil militants the law abiding Sinhalese people in the rest of the country were flabbergasted by these incidents and they did their best to protect the fellow citizens. So when we talk about the 1983 riots, we have to analyze it objectively without preconceived ideas. Rather than finger pointing at each other we should concentrate on root causes of the problem and how to eliminate them. We should learn from this incident, terrorism will not bring solutions to the problems. Key to the solution is an educated society, well planned infrastructure, good economy which will provide good employment opportunities. Sri Lanka has all the ingredients to achieve this, if the politicians have the courage to support the leadership.

  • Gammanpila

    During the 1983 riots, millions of people, mostly Tamils, lost their loved ones, neighbors, friends, personal belonging such as dwellings and so forth. It is not a matter who has started this problem, rather what we as human beings do to cease this situation never happened again. However, we all know that there is no guarantee that it will repeat again.

    After these riots, governments under many leaders have done many things to bring back the old days and make good to all Sri Lankans. However, these efforts have not succeeded due to the arm struggle of LTTE and few other factions.

    One of the reasons that this LTTE and other militants are still fighting in the name of Eelam is that, most of those Tamils who live in outside the Sri Lanka funding to keep the war going. I agree that many of those Tamils as I said before lost something or someone during 1983.

    The only conclusion that I can come to is that all these people are either blinded by the Hatred that was an outcome of 1983. I sometimes wonder if these people are actually religious or not. As we all know, hatred comes with the greed. Therefore, until we all put the 1983 behind us, there will be no peace in Sri Lanka. But, unfortunately for those who are still funding the war will also not have peace in this life time. For a Buddhist, that is karma they will carry to next lives and for others they will have to face their judgment day. I wonder how a person can ask for forgiveness from a god when they are not ready to forgive others.

    May Triple Bless Us All!

  • As a percentage of the population in their respective areas more Sinhala were killed in Jaffna. Is the riot better or expulsion and ethnic cleansing in Jaffna and nazi eelam better ??
    Thousands of Sikhs were also killed after Indira Gandi was killed and the govt. took several days to respond, hurricane Katrina saw the most powerful/advance country in the world taking days to respond and prevent death.
    Why are these people not into apatheid nazism and baby army ??? !! ! ?