Black July


The anniversary of Black July, also known as the “Black July Riots” or “Black July pogrom,” was observed near the Borella Cemetery in Colombo.


  • Black July refers to a period of intense communal violence and ethnic riots that occurred in Sri Lanka.
  • During these riots, thousands of Tamils were killed, many more were injured, and Tamil properties such as homes and businesses were targeted and destroyed.

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  • The conflict leading to Black July can be traced back to long-standing ethnic tensions between the majority Sinhalese community and the minority Tamil community.
  • The Tamil community advocated for greater political rights and autonomy in Sri Lanka but felt marginalized and discriminated against by government policies that favored the Sinhalese community.
  • The immediate trigger for the violence was the ambush and killing of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist militant group fighting for an independent Tamil state.
  • In response to the LTTE attack, mobs composed mainly of Sinhalese civilians, with the involvement of some state forces, unleashed a wave of violence against the Tamil community.


  • The observed anniversary marked the 40th year since the tragic incident occurred in July 1983.
  • The aftermath of Black July was significant as it sparked a mass exodus of Tamil people and exacerbated tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities. copyright©
  • The civil conflict that followed escalated into a prolonged and brutal civil war that lasted nearly three decades until 2009.


  • The riots were targeted against the Tamil minority population in Sri Lanka.


The violent events of Black July took place in July 1983, leaving a deep scar on the history of Sri Lanka and contributing to years of conflict and unrest.

Black July remains a tragic reminder of the consequences of ethnic tensions and violence and serves as a pivotal event in Sri Lanka’s history, shaping its socio-political landscape for years to come.


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