Scars of civil war haunt Sri Lankan Tamils 12 years on

Some like Anuk Arudpragasam have found a vent in fiction to express the despair and draw attention to the sense of justice countless people are living with. Image: Manikandan R

In January this year, the Sri Lankan government razed to the ground the war memorial at Jaffna University which stood to commemorate thousands of Lankan Tamils who died in the protracted civil war in the country. The bulldozers that were brought in to erase the signs of the war, however, have failed to wipe out the memories of the deaths and funerals that the dead were denied from the minds of Sri Lankan Tamils.

The government’s missing attempt at reconciliation with the Tamil population has exacerbated the hurt and alienation of countless Tamils left in Sri Lanka and even those living outside. Twelve years after the war, there is no sign of the promised government commissions to probe the 1,000s missing persons or a war crimes tribunal to investigate human rights abuses.

Political observers say the future of Sri Lankan Tamils looks grim and “uncertain” amid rallies to protest land grab in Tamil areas, government-sponsored Sinhalese settlement, enforced disappearances and persisting militarisation among others. Patience is running out for people in the absence of an able leadership, as experts point out, the Sri Lankan Tamil leaders are opportunists who have made peace with the ruling government for their own gain.

Some like Anuk Arudpragasam have found a vent in fiction to express the despair and draw attention to the sense of injustice countless people are living with.

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