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Various non-governmental organizations and individuals have accused the Sri Lankanmarker government of committing state terrorism. These allegations characterize much of the Sri Lankan government's handling of insurgent groups dating from 1956, including the civil war against Tamil militant groups and the state response to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna insurrections, as state terrorism. Specific acts alleged include massacres of civilians, mass graves, torture, unlawful incarceration and forced disappearances. The government has denies the allegations.


In 1986 Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah, an American Tamil social anthropologist at Harvard Universitymarker specializing in studies of Thailandmarker, Sri Lanka, and Tamils, as well as the anthropology of religion and politics, stated that the Sinhalese populace, the Tamil rebels and the Sri Lankan government armed forces were all engaged in "terrorism" during the Sri Lankan Civil War; he describes the latter as practicing "deadly terrorism and intimidation". Though all parties in the conflict have resorted to the use of terror tactics, in the scale, duration, and sheer numbers of victims, it is the Sri Lankan state that is most guilty of the massive use of terror.

This was echoed by the Secretary of Movement for Development and Democratic Rights, a NGO, that terrorism was used in the north as a political tool and the resultant state terrorism restricted their operation in the north. It further claimed that the state viewed killing as an essential tool [for politics]. This according to Kumar Rupesinghe led to solidification of demand for separate state for minority Tamils called Tamil Eelam under conditions of state terrorism and genocidal situations. The idea of an independent state for Tamils was originally articulated by S.J.V. Chelvanayagam in 1976.

The author of State, Nation, and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia states that as a result of ethnic assault of Tamils, the Sri Lankan social democracy was tainted by State Terrorism.

Dias Hewagama and Wiswa Warnapala claim that experience of State terrorism could not be erased from the mind of people from Jaffnamarker and this is what prompted the UNP to attack Jaffnamarker.

JVP insurrection

From 1985 to 1989, according to Gananath Obeyesekere, Sri Lanka practiced state terrorism against the Sinhalese majority as part of the counter insurgency measures against the uprising by the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) party. As part of pacifying the support base of JVP a wide range of acts of cruelty including the torture and mass murder of school children were carried out by the state.

Likewise, state terrorism came to peak among the Sinhala population during 1989-1990

Chandrika Kumaratunga, the President of Sri Lanka from 1994 to 2005, has also stated in an in interview with David Frost that at the time that her husband Vijaya Kumaranatunga was assassinated, "Sri Lanka had a killing fields, there was a lot of terror perpetrated by the government itself, state terrorism. This was supported by a report released by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organization based in Hong Kongmarker and associated with the United Nations, also claimed that there was widespread terrorism by the state organ during the same period.

Post 2000 events

Since the collapse of peace talks since 2006, human rights agencies such as the Asian Center of Human Rights (ACHR), the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR), and pro LTTE political parties such as the Tamil National Alliance, have claimed that government of Sri Lanka has unleashed state terrorism as part of its counter insurgency measures against the rebel LTTE movement. To which the government has claimed that such claims by the LTTE is an attempt at justifying terrorism of the LTTE. The ACHR has also reported that, "since the collapse of the Geneva talks of February 2006", the government of Sri Lanka has perpetrated a campaign of state terrorism by targeting alleged LTTE sympathizers and Tamil civilians. As noted by Brad Adams, Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, Two Tamil commentators have requested international intervention in Sri Lanka to protect the civilians from State terror.

Civilian deaths

When referring to the massacre of five school kids in Trincomalee, and the subsequent incidents of intimidation of the witnesses and the perceived lack of investigative vigor, the local human rights group UTHR termed it an act of state terror.

Recruitment of children

According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court identifies "conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities" as a war crime. The agency has accused that Sri Lankan government backed paramilitary forces of recruiting children, describing is a "state terror" and has appealed to the international community to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for investigation into the violations of the Rome Statute.

Torture and Rape

The International Federation of Tamils, a pro-LTTE consortium of Tamil groups, alleged that the systematic use of torture and rape is instruments of state terrorism. David Jeyaraj a prominent Sri Lankan journalist from Canadamarker has termed the act of torture, rape and murder of a family in the Vankalai massacre as an act of State terrorism. Human Rights groups have condemned this massacre and demanded an independent investigation. In Trauma of Terrorism author Yael Danieli states that the Sri Lankan state is the most guilty in the use of terror. It further claimed that state terrorism became institutionalized into very law of structure of society and mechanism of governance. , in the recent event's Hillary Clinton has been quoted to have mentioned Sri Lanka of using rape used as a tactic of war , this accusation adds to the report's of such incidents happening in Sri Lanka .

Media Freedom

Opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has charged that the government of Sri Lanka has turned into a junta, "This junta has control over the economy, business activities and defense. They have unleashed corruption and terror on the country." He claimed that the attack on the Sunday Leader press facility, an independent English weekly could not have occurred without the knowledge of Sri Lankan Defense Ministry, since its located in a High Security Zone, neighboring military air force base, defense academy and a military camp .

Furthermore, UTHR, a local human rights organization claimed that the media has been repressed by State Terrorism. Some activists have linked the lack of coverage of the displacement of Tamils in late 2008 (specifically, people being relocated to welfare villages) in India to evidence of new anti-democratic controls over the media.

See also


  1. Tambiah, Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy, p. 116
  2. Danieli, Yael, D. Brom, and Joe Sills,The trauma of terrorism: sharing knowledge and shared care, pp.216
  3. ACHR, Sri Lanka: Disappearances and the Collapse of the Police System,ACHR, pp.34-42
  4. Hattotuwa, From violence to peace: Terrorism and Human Rights in Sri Lanka, pp.11-13
  5. Rupesinghe, Ethnic Conflict in South Asia: The Case of Sri Lanka and the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF), pp.337
  6. Ishtiaq Ahmed, State, Nation, and Ethnicity in Contemporary South Asia, Continuum International Publishing Group, 1996, p. 55. ISBN 1855675781.
  7. W. A. Wiswa Warnapala, L. Dias Hewagama, Recent Politics in Sri Lanka: The Presidential Election and the Referendum, Navrang (Original from the University of Michigan), 1983, p. 29. ASIN: B000II886W.
  8. Gananath Obeyesekere, Narratives of the self: Chevalier Peter Dillon's Fijian cannibal adventures, in Barbara Creed, Jeanette Hoorn, Body Taade: captivity, cannibalism and colonialism in the Pacific, Routledge, 2001, p. 100. ISBN 0415938848. "The 'time of dread' was roughly 1985-89, when ethnic Sinhala youth took over vast areas of the country and practiced enormous atrocities; they were only eliminated by equally dreadful state terrorism."
  9. University Teachers for Human Rights , UTHR, October 28, 2001.
  10. Danieli, The Trauma of Terrorism, p. 216
  12. Gota is behind this draconian gazette


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