Black July

This topic of “Black July” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.


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.


  • 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.
  • 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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