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09/28/2013

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Jaffna library was
considered the largest
library with the rarest
collection of books
and manuscripts in the
whole of South Asia. It
was the educational
heritage of the people
in the North of the
island. It was located
south of the Jaffna
town on the eastern
end of a famous sports
ground. Close to it is the Jaffna Central College and the clock tower built during the
British rule.

The library housed more than 97,000 rare books and was unique in the entire island.
For its time, it was a library well designed for study and was sought by students and
academics as well as by foreign diplomats.

Lest we forget – Massacres of Tamils 1956 ­2002

5

Report by NESOHR,
Information Collected by SNE

On 1 June 1981 at 10.00 pm, all three
armed forces of the Sri Lankan
government entered the library premises
and chased away the security guard.
They broke open the library door and
started burning books. A rare collection
of 97,000 books were burnt in a few
minutes. The building was also set alight.

The burning of the Jaffna library is one clear example of the intent of the Sri
Lankan government to destroy the Tamil culture in the island.

This book burning of the rarest collection of books in South Asia must be engraved
as a tragic episode in the human history.

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