We warmly thank Vincent Faugère for allowing us to upload unpublished photographs he took during the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983. Vincent Faugère came with his father to visit Sri Lanka in July 1983. He was then 15 years old. It happened that Vincent and his father were in Colombo when Tamil people were killed and chased from the town.
Cheered by tens of thousands of people, a train decorated with banana trees and colorful flower garlands arrived in Jaffna, the capital of Sri Lanka’s northern Tamil heartland, 24 years after the ‘Queen of Jaffna’ was suspended due to a bloody civil war.
‘Yarl Devi,’ as it is known in Tamil, was once a popular mode of transport between the ethnic Tamil-majority north and the Sinhala-majority south.
It was scaled back in 1990 because of the heightening of the war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, who were fighting to create an independent state for the country’s ethnic minority Tamils.
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Despite lingering issues, the railroad may well move the country toward greater unity, said Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, an analyst with the independent Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo.
“Let’s hope that politics will follow infrastructure,” he said.
The iconic Yal Devi Express from Colombo to Jaffna will resume its run on October 13, some 25 years after the link was suspended during the height of the Sri Lankan civil war.
“The iconic Yal Devi Express from Colombo to Jaffna will resume its run on October 13, some 25 years after the link was suspended during the height of the Sri Lankan civil war.”