about the riots,
so he left the car at home and took the bus to work. I was home
with my two daughters. Around 10am, we heard loud noises outside.
About 15-20 thugs armed with sticks, batons and hatchets broke the
door down and came inside the house. We were hiding in one of the
bedrooms with the doors locked. They smashed everything and were
about to leave. Suddenly, one of them said loudly that people were
hiding in the bedroom and they should kill us. We were so scared.
After a minute of bone chilling silence, they broke the bedroom
door down and dragged us outside. They beat us and told us to leave.
We were so afraid and didn't know where to go. They told us to walk
straight to the sea and kill ourselves. We left with what ever we
were wearing. We started to walk down Vivakananda road. A Tamil
Christian family saw us and called us into their house. From there,
we could see our home being looted and then set on fire. There was
a lot of police, army jeeps and helicopters flying above but none
of them attempted to stop the thugs from maiming Tamils publicly,
looting and burning their homes.
name is Sivapakkiam Sinnadurai and I was 43 years old.
My husband’s name is Murugesu Sinnadurai and he
was 54 years in 1983. We have been living in 410 Galle
Road, Wellawatta for 24 years. Wellawatta was known as
"Little Jaffna" and there was a lot of Tamils
who lived there. At the time, two of my daughters who
were 21 and 15, were living with us.
the morning of July 25th, my husband got a call from his
About two hours later, the family dropped us at Ramakrishna Mission
Hall, which was on the next road. When we went there, we saw that
the Sinhala thugs already vandalized the mission. There we stayed
with many others just like us. Most people were injured and there
was blood everywhere. Around 10pm, a bus came and picked us up.
It took us to Hindu College, which was converted into a huge camp.
A lot of people, who were doing well before the riots, were suffering
without any food or proper clothing in the camp. People were fighting
to get pieces of bread. It was very heartbreaking to see. While
we were there, there was a rumor that the Hindu college was going
to be the next target. We were so afraid and didn't know what to
Meanwhile, my husband
had been looking for us the whole day without any luck. He came
close to being killed a few times in the process. Later, he told
us the gas station next to our house was giving away free gasoline
to the thugs to burn down the Tamil homes and businesses. When
he went home looking for us, he saw the house in flames and our
neighbour, a Sinhalese man, had took our hose and was watering
his house to prevent the flames. Eventually, he found us after
midnight. All of us stayed in the camp for 25 days.
On the last day,
we left on a ship called "Sithamparam" to Point Pedro.
We stayed in our home town Karainagar there after. Three months
later, my husband went back to Colombo. He took pictures of our
ruined house and sent it to us.
We lost everything in Black July. We thought we were safe in our
home town. But, not for long. In 1990, a big navel base appeared
in our village and every one had to move due to the constant fighting
in the area. We kept moving like gypsies and eventually came to
Canada in 1995.
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