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After 111 years of British colonization, Ceylon gained independence in 1948. Despite pressure from Tamil political leaders for a state with equal power sharing between the Tamil and Sinhalese, a single-level centralized government was created with a population-based electoral system. However, with the population more than 70% Sinhalese, the nature of the electoral setup soon enabled a majoritarian rule. Tamils whose ancestors came to Ceylon in the 1800’s were deprived of their citizenship rights within a year, while Sinhalese were financially supported by the government to move from traditional Sinhalese areas and settle in other areas.

In response to the sudden changes in political landscape, mistrust and distance between the different ethnic groups began to build.

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