riots made a deep and painful mark on my life. Though I was in
Trincomalee, relatively safe from the horrors Tamils were facing
in the South, it is unforgettable since I lost my brother in the
S.K Patakunarajash, was 54 years old. We grew up together in Jaffna.
After his marriage, he moved to Colombo where he worked in a travel
agency company. On the first day of Black July, he was home with
his wife and two children. His older son had moved to France while
his two other daughters were living in Jaffna with their families.
Though, he heard of the violence and saw smoke in the far distance
– they remained at home, hoping for the best. Suddenly,
mobs were surrounding the area. As they saw the men approaching
the house with machetes and rods, they ran to the back of the
house. He helped his wife and two children jump the back wall
and escape out onto the streets. However, he did not escape in
time. They never saw him again.
day I received a call from a family friend who was a Police Officer.
He informed me of my brother’s death. I was speechless.
I could not believe it. I kindly asked him to retrieve the body
so that we could hold a funeral but even that was not possible.
It was too risky to hold such events and it was best that no one
even returned to the house.
in the refugee camps, his wife and children made their way to
Jaffna on ship. After which, their son called them to live with
him in France.
officer did file an affidavit of the family experience. Though
a court date was initially set, the charges simply dropped by
in Sri Lanka only got worse afterward. As my children began moving
out of Sri Lanka, I left as well in 2002.
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