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Sri Lankan Tamil refugees

The Tamils in Sri Lanka faced discrimination and violence by the Sri Lankan state since the mid-1900s until only a few years ago from now. The Buddhist majority nation state saw the destruction of Tamil Heritage along with its people.


In what started to emerge as an ethnic tension between the Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhist and the Tamils, rose to a civil war in the immediate aftermath of independence of the country from the British in 1948. Ethnic riots broke out as early as in 1980s, creating one of the most deliberated insurgency groups - Lankan Tamil Tigers which declared the “First Eelam war” during the same period. The group targeted and brought down their Tamil opponents and consolidated the separatist movement. This is alleged to have been a result of the Sri Lankan government’s the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 which barred Indian Tamils from holding citizenship, making atleast 700,000 people stateless.


Following this declaration, Sri Lanka witnessed the intervention of India amongst other countries and international actors, unfortunate suicide bombings by the Tigers and disagreement between the government and the state.


The civil war internally displaced an estimated 800,000, pushed 84,000 away from the country and killed atleast 100,000 people.

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