Photo courtesy Chathuranga M. Pradeep

While Colombo bore the brunt of the violence of Black July in 1983, other areas of the country were also affected. Groundviews conducted interviews with survivors in Bandarawela, many of whom described it as the darkest period of their lives. The fear and trauma persists to this day. The town bears physical scars of the attacks; a theatre was burnt down as well as several shops. The kovil was also destroyed but has since been renovated. People say seeing these places brings back the dark memories.

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“They killed hundreds as they burnt the kovil to the ground. But they did not stop there.”