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Terms in this set (143)

The Issue. In 1948, the British granted Sri Lanka independence. The island was in- habited by the dominant Sinhalese and the Tamils. Although the constitution grant- ed Tamils representation in the government and civil service, by 1955, they felt that they were being systematically excluded from Sri Lanka's economic life.

The Group. As ethnic tensions increased, some Tamils turned to violence. The Libera- tion Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) were formed in 1976 to fight for the Tamil minority.

The Campaign. The Tigers began a campaign against the Sri Lankan Army, and they targeted India when the Indian prime minister tried to bring peace by deploying secu- rity forces. The LTTE is known for kidnapping young children and indoctrinating them in LTTE camps. The Tigers also became masters of assassination and suicide bomb- ings. The LTTE was the first modern secular group to use suicide bombers. Many mem- bers lived in a virtual death cult, and the Black Tigers, the suicide wing of the LTTE, were known for carrying cyanide capsules around their necks when they attacked.

The Cease-Fire. The LTTE agreed to a cease-fire in December 2001 and began peace negotiations in 2002. Although occasional outbreaks of violence occurred, many ex- perts believe the LTTE was suffering from a lack of resources.

Renewed Fighting. Hostilities renewed in late 2006. After four years of relative peace, the Sinhalese refused to recognize a Tamil homeland. Both sides began sporadic fighting, and terrorism returned to Sri Lanka.

Conflict Ends. The Sri Lankan military and police forces launched a major offensive against the LTTE in 2008. Segregating the Tamil community, Sri Lankans forced them to either stay in a war zone or go to refugee camps. The next step involved system- atically attacking and destroying all LTTE members and their supporters in the geographical region. Sri Lankan forces reduced the LTTE. Pirapaharan committed suicide rather than surrender. Fighting ended in May 2009, bringing one of Asia's longest violent separatist conflicts to an end.