Timeline: Sri Lanka Civil War Up until the defeat of the rebel group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in mid-May, 2009, the Sri Lankan civil war had been Asia's longest-running conflict. The roots of the war can be traced back to 1948, when Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain. The Sinhalese, the majority ethnic group making up more than 70 per cent of the population, had felt discriminated against under the British. To rectify this, following independence the Sinhalese began to pass laws favouring the Sinhalese language, the Buddhist faith, and other laws that minorities felt discriminated against them. The second largest ethnic group, the Tamils, were the most prominent in opposing these laws. This led to several decades of inconclusive political battles and occasional violence. By the late Seventies, the LTTE (also known as the Tamil Tigers) emerged, calling for a separate Tamil state to be achieved through armed struggle. In 1983, the killing of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers by the Tamil Tigers led to anti-Tamil riots where several hundred Tamils were estimated to have died. This incident is generally seen as the start of the civil war, which continued on and off until May, 2009, when Sri Lankan forces retook the last remaining LTTE-held territory and killed Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. According to the United Nations, between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed during the conflict.
Created by TheAgenda on May 22, 2009
Last updated: 03/12/10 at 02:01 AM
Tags: The Agenda with Seve Paikin Sri Lanka Tamils
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Source: AFP The Sri Lankan government faced renewed demands Friday to free nearly 300,000 war-displaced civilians, who fled Tamil Tiger rebel territory, from tightly guarded state-run camps. Full Article http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g_3buDSvVt9sW_e3fEK-M7eg6NoQ
Canadian Liberal MP Bob Rae arrived in Sri Lanka on the evening of June 9th, 2009. He was denied entry, labeled a security risk, and on June 10th was expelled from the country. In previous years, Mr. Rae worked with both sides in the conflict during the peace process. He is a excerpt from his statement:
"...the government of Sri Lanka is afraid of dialogue,afraid of discussion, afraid of Engagement. All I can say is shame on them. If this ishow they treat me, imagine how they treat people who can't speak out and who can't
make public statements.'
The Times claims that over 20 thousand civilians were killed in the final days of Sri Lanka's military operation to defeat Tamil Tigers. The United Nations estimates that over 80 thousand people have been killed during the civil war.
Tamil Tiger Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran's body was identified by two former aids.
For the first time in the history of the conflict, the Sir Lankan controls the entire coastline, cutting off the last escape route for the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse declares victory over the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lankan governement gives remaining Tamil fighters twenty four hours to surrender. Cilivians flee the batlle zone.
Cut off and low on supplies, the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) a request a ceasefire and offer to negotiate a peace settlement. The Sri Lankan government refuses to negotiate and demands their immediate surrender.
Sri Lankan forces capture the town Mullaittivu, restricting Tamil Tiger activity to a small strip of jungle.
Government troops capture the city of Kilinochchi. Kilinochchi had served at the Tamil Tiger's captial city.
Sri Lankan government annuls ceasefire and launches major offensive against the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lankan government declares an end to the ceasefire. Tamil Tigers fall under frequent attack.
AlJazeera English profiles the Black Tigers, the suicide bombers of LTTE.
Suicide bomb blast in Colombo.
Some of the most intense fighting since the ceasefire erupts in the north-east. Tamil fighters are eventually driven out of their eastern strongholds.
Tamils attack naval convoy near Jaffna.
Tamil suicide bomber attacks military outpost in Colombo killing half a dozen people. The government responds with air strikes in Tiger held territory.
At third session of peace talks brokered by the Norwegian government, the LTTE and Sri Lankan government agree to share power. The Tamils enjoy a quasi-independent state in the north and east of the island.
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgramar is assassinated, a state of emergency is declared. Kadirgramar was a Tamil who opposed a separate state solution.
A sharing agreement with the Tamils for $3 billion dollar in tsunami relief aid sparks dissent amongst Sinhalas Tamils, and Muslims.
More then thirty thousand people are killed after a massive undersea earthquake off the coast of Indonesia tiggered a Tsunami.
Tamil Tigers launch military offensives and regain control of the east.
Tamil Tigers withdraw from Norwegian sponsored peace talks.
The Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tigers sign a Norwegian negotiate ceasefire agreement. The landmark agreement will lead to a power sharing in next few months.
International Airport: A suicide bomb attack by Tamil Tiger kills more than a dozen people.
Tamil Tigers overrun the Kilinochchi army camp, killing over 1,000 government troops.
LTTE attacks one of the country's most holliest Buddhist shrines. One of the buildings contains a tooth from Budda. Thirteen people are killed and the shrine is badly damaged.
The United States lists the LTTE as a foreign terrorist organization. A move that allows closer ties between the Sri Lankan goverment and the U.S. intelligence community. LTTE funds inside the U.S. are frozen.
In October of '95, the Sri Lankan government launched a new offensive in the north. By December, government forces had capture the Tamil stronghold of Jaffna.
After a four month truce, Tamil Tigers attack a Sri Lankan naval boat. Peace talks collapse. Elam War Three begins.
President Kumaratunga begins peace talks with the LTTE. Both side negotiate the establishment of a federal system.
Chandrika Kumaratunga is elected president and promised to hold talks with the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Permadasa is killed by a suicide bomber. The LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) claims responsibility.
Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi dies in a suicide bombing by a Tamil militant, who was upset by India's involvement in Sri Lanka's civil war.
After three years the remaining India peace keeping force withdraws from the island. The Tamil are left in control of large parts of northern Sri Lanka including the northern city of Jaffna. Fighting intensifies and "Second Eelam War" begins.
The Indo-Sri Lankan Accord, signed on July 29, 1987, called on India to deploy a peacekeeping force on the island, and to bring an end to the ethnic violence that had been escalating over the years.
India would stay in Sri Lanka for the next three years, losing over 1,500 troops.
The Thimpu Talks: In the city of Thimpu, the capital of the Kingdom of Bhutan, the first direct peace with Tamil fighters and the Sri Lankan government takes place. The majority of Tamil demands are reject and the talks break down.
Tamil Tigers ambush government soldiers killing thirteen. Anti-Tamil riots break out in Colombo leaving hundreds dead and several thousand displaced. The Tamil Tiger refer to this as the beginning of the 'First Eelam War".
The Jaffna Public library was set on fire during three days of anti-Tamil rioting. The library was considered one of the largest depositories on Tamil history and culture. It is estimated that 97,000 books and manuscripts were lost. The destruction of the library is often sited as directly contributing to increase in Tamil militancy.
Anti-Tamil riots break out less than a month after national elections. More than 100 Tamils are killed.
The United National Party regains power. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) becomes the official opposition. The TUFL wins every seat in Tamil areas. The election marks a turning point in the country's history as unprecedent violence breaks out.
The Tamil New Tigers, under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, changes it name to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) also known as the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lanka becomes the official name of the county. Buddhism is chosen as the country's primary religion. Tamil minority feel further isolated.
Tamil Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran forms the Tamil New Tigers (TNT) which will eventually become the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The TNT demand a separate Tamil state in the island's north and east
Frustrated by government policy and economic stagnation, The People's Liberation Front launches an armed rebellion against the government. The rebellion is put down in a mater of weeks with lost of life estimated in the thousands.