Writer S Karunakaran reflects on Black July from the perspective of a marginalised and often forgotten community – the Malaiyagha Tamils – and specifically those who tried to resettle in the North of the country.

The Malaiyagha Tamils settled upcountry and in Colombo. A section of this community was displaced from the South following violence in 1958, 1977 and 1983, Karunakaran explains.

Those from the North returned to their ancestral homes in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu. However the Malaiyagha Tamils who attempted to go North were not absorbed into Jaffna, or into any of the major towns such as Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar or Kilinochchi.

“There was enough and more State lands in Jaffna and other Districts in the North. But, these people were not handled in the manner that they should have been.

On the contrary, they were stopped at Wanni and were settled in forest areas within Wanni that lacked resources,” Karunakaran says.

This interview is part of a series by Maatram, on Black July.

Editor’s Note: To view more content marking 35 years since Black July, click here.