Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka
The Tamil Tigers immigrated to Sri Lanka from southern India and made up ten to fifteen percent of the population. The Tigers were the minority when compared to the Sinhalese, who represented seventy-five percent of the population. Right away there was ethnic conflict due to religion and language. Since the Tigers had their own language this created tension between the two.
Sri Lanka gained their independence in 1948. This gave the Sinhalese intense political power. Sri Lanka’s official language was English, but had been replaced by the Sinhala language in 1956. This was a significant advantage for the Sinhalese in securing government jobs. Yet, this created even more hostility for the Tigers. Though the Sinhalese felt victimized when the Tigers obtained equal legal status.
In 1949, the Tamil leaders demanded a federal system that would provide their regions substantial independence. This pushed the Sinhalese to attempt imposing their language on the entire nation. The Sinhalese, although were the majority, suffered from a minority complex. This was due to the millions of Tamils living on the nearby Indian mainland. The Tamil Tigers became violent when the Sri Lankan government tried getting them and their families to return to India.
The Tamil Tigers are also known as LLTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). They were a very powerful force engaged in guerrilla warfare and terrorism. They used illegal methods to raise money and acquire weapons. They raised more than sixty million dollars annually smuggling immigrants and drugs into Europe and the U.S.
In 1983, they relied on a guerilla strategy when they started the conflict with the Sri Lankan government. This included the use of terrorist tactics. The Tamils killed thirteen soldiers and the Sri Lankan government killed hundreds of Tamils. This caused many of the Tamils to flee to South India. The attacks between the two went on for years. In 1987, the Sri Lankan government...