“There is no proper record of what happened, or how the killings took place during that time. We do not have any information or documentation to pass it on to our future generation.”

In this interview with Maatram, activist S. Kirishanth reflects on how Colombo’s rapid development has left no trace of the riots in 1983, and the need to remember without blaming an entire community for the violence that was unleashed, 35 years ago.

“You should not blame an entire community and hold it responsible for the [1983 riots]. Only a part of the community which exercised dominance over others was responsible. We should oppose only those who exercise their dominance by killing people, and not the entire community.

We can do justice by commemorating the deaths and losses while opposing those who want to dominate other communities by harming them. The true commemorative event from a historical perspective is when everyone joins together to remember the incidents without hatred, racist sentiments, or blaming one entire community,” Kirishanth says.

This interview is part of an ongoing series by Maatram reflecting on Black July.

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