ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Ceylon: At the Cross-Roads

Vol VII, No 21 MAY 20, 1972

Ceylon: At the Cross-Roads Urmila Phadnis Perhaps at no time in the quarter century of Ceylon’s independence has its democratic parliamentary system been confronted with so many simultaneous and cumulative crises as today. An influential segment of its million strong Ceylon Tamil community in the north is thre¬at¬ening to rise in revolt against ‘Sinhalese chauvinism’ and there is much talk of an independent ‘Yala Desh’ (Country of Tamils) in the Jaffna peninsula. In the plantation sector (in central and southern Ceylon), which is the mainstay of the island’s economy, a general strike for better wages and employment facilities by the estate labourers, most of whom are Tamils, seems to be imminent. The law and order situation is far from satisfactory. Tourists are still ‘advised’ to drop many sites from their itinerary. In the last few months, there has been a spurt in cases of robbery and arson. It is alleged that these are the doings of the young insurgents and there is fear in the atmosphere of a sudden outburst of armed activity by the People’s Liberation Front (known in common parlance as the JVP or the Che Guevarists). The government’s fears of renewed insurgent activity are evident from the army’s movements. Security measures have been tightened, army leave cancelled, volunteers recruited last year called back to service. Strategic points are heavily guarded and the houses of important political dignitaries are barricaded.

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Updated On : 21st May, 2022
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