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Causes that led to Civil War in Sri Lanka

Civil War in Sri Lanka was a name of the conflict between races that occur in Sri Lanka. The civil war started since 23 July 1983. For the fought over 25 years, it was ended on 18 May 2009 after the surrender of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on the previous day as announced by the chief of the international relations, Selvarasa Pathmanathan. The leader of LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran was confirmed dead by Sri Lanka military so that the whole nation was recover by the power of state. It is clear that the war is primarily caused by ethnic conflict between two largest ethnic groups, the majority Buddhist Sinhalese and the minority Hindu Tamils. This war also the dominance fought between regional rulers. The ethnic conflict was emerged when there is an antagonistic in the relationship in both of this ethnic since before independence. There are many root causes for the tension of ethnic conflict. First is ethnic conflict and language. Sri Lanka first known as Ceylon was get their independence when the population was seeks for it from British after 1948. Their prime minister, Bandaranaike sparked controversy by proposed resolution to use Sinhalese as official language due to Sinhala Only campaign replacing English. So the problem exists when many Tamils are unemployment because they were not fluent in Sinhala. This meant that government will faced demonstration from Tamil. Second is ethnic conflict and education. Tamils presence in education makes Sinhalese was not satisfied. Through this situation, a new standardization policy was adopted to ensure that the number of students qualifying for university entrance was proportionate with the number of students who take the entrance examination in the university in Sinhalese language so that the Tamil students must to score higher than Sinhalese students to gain admission to universities. Tamil were more likely to speak English because the reward promised by British for them with a larger share of government jobs. This was also the British Colonial influence. Sinhalese was thinking first to not let Tamil gain access in higher education that wanted the English language expunged from government and commerce.

Third is ethnic conflict and employment. As we can see, both language and education policies have placed barriers on employment, especially in the administrative and professional ranks in which Tamils were at one point over-represented.1 Last but not least, the ethnic conflict and the issue of land. The clearest site of politics of land and ethnicity has been in the sparsely populated areas of the dry zone in the North Central Province and the Eastern Province.2 Besides, riots also the causes of the war. Before the civil war began, there were two major riots the first one in 1958 and the other in 1977. Tamils were the major victims. The consequence there, riots destroy the trust between communities. The other reasons is that discrimination created by Sinhalese for Tamil according to the number of other policies and events is Denial of citizenship to estate Tamils, Sinhala colonization of Tamil areas, Banning of Tamil media and literature importation and destruction of the Jaffna Public Library. All of those contributed to set fire on the events of the Black July in 1983, and encouraged the Tamils to form militant groups that would start the civil war.3

Appendix I, The root causes of the Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka, pg. 5 2 Ibid, The dry zone areas of the North Central Province had special socio-cultural significance for Sinhalese in term of their popular imagination of the past 3 History of the civil war in Sri Lanka since 1983, Kim Kyung Mook, Nov 2006,