1958 Genocide

The Genocide of 1958 was no accident. There is a strong background to this. As a result of the impact of the 33rd Sinhalese Only Act brought in 1956, the Tamil parties held a satyagraha protest against the Sinhalese Only Act on the fifth day of June 1956 in Colombo's Galle Street. The protest was violently suppressed by the Sinhalese hawks.

Following this, in 1957, the Tamil party went on a pilgrimage to Trincomalee and held a conference there. A resolution was passed in the Tirumala conference that the Bandaranaike government should be given a one-year deadline to give equality to the Tamil language and that regional councils should be formed for the development of the Tamil region. A resolution was also passed that direct action would be taken if the Bandaranaike government did not act on this request. It was on this basis that the then Prime Minister S.W.R.T. Bandaranayaka came to an accord with his father Selvanayaka. As a result, on 26.07.1957 under the leadership of Father Selvanayakam, S.W.R.T. Bandaranaike made a pact. This is the famous 1957 Banda-Selva Pact.

JR Jayawardena went on a padayatra to Kandy on behalf of the then United National Party to protest against this agreement. Along with that, the United National Party also published a publication called "First Step" and engaged in racist propaganda. "Siyaratta", the propaganda paper of the United National Party, carried out the worst racist propaganda against the Tamils. JR's padayatra, which left for Kandy, was visited by Sri Lanka Freedom Party's SWRD at Imbulgoda. Another group headed by Bandaranaike stopped them. Meanwhile, Buddhist Bhikkumar of Bhikku Peramuna, who brought Bandaranayaka to office, Velimadai MP of Jatika Vimukti Peramuna, K.M. P Rajaratna and Colombo Anandak College Principal Methananda like Sinhala National Front's R.G. People like Senanayaka also pressured Bandara Nayaka to tear up the Banda-Selva Agreement and chanted slogans in front of Prime Minister Bandara Nayaka's residence at Rosemead Place, Colombo Seven. Yielding to their slogans and entreaties, Bandaranayaka tore up the Banda-Selva pact he had made with his father Selvanayake.

Following this, arrangements were made for the Vavunia District Conference of Tamil Nadu Party on 24th, 25th and 26th of May 1958. Tamil party activists from Mattu-Amparai who were visiting the Vavunia conference were intercepted at Kinguragoda bus station in Polanarui district and attacked by Sinhalese goons.

During the same period Major Seneviratna of Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council was shot and killed in Batticaloa for personal reasons while on his way to Batticaloa. Bandaranaike, who was the prime minister, exaggerated this and campaigned on Sri Lankan radio. This was followed by genocide against the Tamils ​​across the island. Tamils ​​were massacred. Many women were raped. The properties of the Tamil people were looted. At Pananturai, Siri Kathir Velayudha Swami was fattened alive inside the temple by the temple priests. The wife of Balipodi, a Tamil nurse who treated the Sinhalese at Polanaru Government Hospital, was raped. Despite all this, Bandaranaike's government did not declare emergency or curfew.

During this genocide many houses of Tamil people were set on fire. Many Tamil children were thrown into the boiling tar. Also, a famous English journalist, Dasi Vidtachy, who was staying in Sri Lanka at this time, after being expelled from the country by the Bandaranaike government, went back to his mother country and wrote and published a book called "Emergency Act Fifty-Eight". Today this book is considered a world famous book. It can be known from the chronicles published at that time that more than three hundred Tamil civilians were killed during this period. Many hundreds of people were cut and mutilated. The properties of the Tamil people were looted and their belongings were burnt. No investigations have been carried out about this period.