Editor’s Note: This video was created by sister site Maatram, and forms part of an ongoing series marking 35 years since Black July. 

Featured image courtesy Selvaraja Rajasegar

“As we travelled a small distance, I stretched my feet under the seat and I saw swords and rods. There were around 11 people in the van. None of them could speak Tamil. They were bearded and had covered their faces with cloth.”

Jegadeeswara Sharma was looking forward to the future. His brother, who worked at an employment agency, had told him about a vacancy for the position of driver in Kuwait. He would received Rs. 30,000 as a salary.

Five days before his flight, Jegadeeswara was staying in a hotel in Fort. In the evenings, he would walk around Colombo. On his third day there, he was returning from his walk near Colombo Harbour, when he heard something had happened near Jaffna.

The year was 1983.

View his story, shot and compiled by sister site Maatram, now online here:

To view more content marking 35 years since Black July, click here.