My name is
Dushy Nadarajah. I have been living in Canada for over 19 years.
I grew up in Nallur, Jaffna. I completed my studies in India and
after which I began looking for a job.
interview in Colombo, I headed back to Jaffna on July 23, 1983.
That night, our family was up late when the lights began to flicker
and dim. Through the stillness of the night, we could hear firing
in the distance. The next morning we learnt that 13 soldiers were
killed in Tirunuveli and word spread that we might experience
some trouble. A few even said that the ambush was retaliation
by the Tigers and the youth against harassment of girls by the
Army on St. Patrick’s College grounds.
evening, I saw nearly fifteen or twenty Sri Lankan soldiers walking
to towards our road from the direction of Tirunuveli. We all saw
them coming. Our house was at the junction where three roads met.
They spread out to cover all the streets. One of them came straight
into my kitchen and asked for kerosene and match box. When he
left, I quickly ran out and looked out to the far end of the road.
The houses were burning there.
out of their houses and hid outside. We jumped over a fence and
hid in a neighbors house. Only our parents stayed behind. In the
night, they came back and broke the fence and windows. They wanted
all the lights turned on and doors open. They freely raided the
town. Many were drunk. They would stagger in and out of houses
and even trip on the stairs. They were looking to any items to
loot. By morning, they were all gone however we all not the same
refugees from Colombo arrived, everyone in the area made food
parcels while a few others like my brother visited the camps to
provide the foods parcels or support in any manner. It was difficult
to hear about their experiences. Some of the refugees had never
stepped foot in Jaffna before the riots. Everything was very new
constantly on guard after ’83 riots. We always tried to
avoid Army officials. My father was a government servant in charge
of Food control. The army would frequently visit our house but
we never stay there – we immediately leave out the back.
I was returned to India and then moved to US. When troubles began
to increase in Jaffna due to the violent actions of the Indian
Peace Keeping Force, I realized I could not go back. Soon everyone
in my family began to leave. I visited Canada when I was a student
and had a great experience. Thus, I decided to move to Canada
and built my new life here.
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