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Political Violence: Sri Lanka

Political Violence: Sri Lanka


The political history of the countries of the world has been very interesting. It has been a field with many misunderstandings that have erupted into violence among the political leader and parties. The violence is one of the most complicated issues that have troubled the modern day political institutions. Struggles to ensure a balance of power and resources distribution among the citizens of the country. These have led to political violence in the world and advanced levels of conflicts and wars among the citizens. Political violence in is the outbreak of violence beyond a state’s prevention or control.

A majority of the third world countries have faces sessions, military coups, assassinations and insurgencies. These problems have been caused by the quest for power, revolutions and nationalism. The political problems can be attributed to the colonial masters’ failure to prepare their colonies before giving independence. Third world countries were left without the governing knowledge and leadership skills to run the young countries. This paper will discuss political violence regarding forms, causes and effects of political violence. I will also evaluate political violence in the third world countries using a case study of Sri Lanka.

Political conflicts in Sri Lanka can be traced from the feudalism error when the country was under the Southern Indians Invasion. The wars were as an effort to expand the feudal power and to kill the royal people. Sri Lanka’s problem is a common problem among many that have risen in the world. The country has experienced these problems since her independence, and the government has been unable to rectify or control the issues. The country is a good example of the third world countries where guerrilla warfare and insurgency have been used (Samaranayake, 1991).


Language Barriers

Differences in languages in a country have been major causes of violence. Sri Lanka has faced major problems as a result of language barriers. After independence, English was declared as the national language in the country. This declaration caused misunderstanding among the nationalist who argued that the Tamils of Sri Lanka had the advantage over other languages as a result of education privileges. They claimed that the Tamils speakers were more educated during the colonial period and had power and more representation in the administration than the other languages (

In 1944, the members of parliament had proposed that the Sinhalese language be declared as the national language. The representatives of the Tamils also urged that the language be declared as a national language. Later, both Tamils and Sinhalese were approved as the instruction language to be used in schools for examination. The violence and effects caused by the rivalry were not addressed even after the two languages were constitutionally accepted.

Issue of Land

Another cause of the persistent conflicts in the country was the land issues in the country. The historical land injustices have led to the emergence of ethno-political violence in Sri Lanka. The demographic problems have led to the occupancy of some ethnic communities in some geographical areas and beyond. These problems have led to rivalry in the politics of land especially as a result of the sparsely populated Eastern areas (

Confidence in Non-violent and Democratic Politics

Loss of confidence in peaceful and democratic politics has also led to political violence in Sri Lanka. There had been continued discrimination of the Tamil political leaders, and this ethnic segregation led to further increase in the political violence in the country in 1930. It also led to the demand for separation by the Tamils and their end to the quest for federalism.


Wars and violence have consequences to the country, community and the individual citizens. One of the impacts of the political violence that have faced the country is the outbreak of armed conflicts. Wars are the most serious consequence of political violence. This violence escalates to inciting of ethnic communities and, as a result, they turn against each other (Hewitt, 2011). After the signing Sinhalese Only Bill” into law in 1956, conflicts broke out between the Tamils and Sinhalese for four times. These conflicts broke out in the years 1958, 1977, 1981 and in 1983 when most lives were lost and the highest value of property destroyed.

Another impact of political violence is poverty and unequal distribution of resources. These effects are felt in the war aftermath especially by the losing parties. The Tamil people suffered most from the violence thus leading to poverty among their youth and the population at large. The poverty among the youth forced them into gangs that committed crimes such as bank robbery and violence within the community.

Psychological impacts of political violence in a country are experienced for long even after the end of the wars. Trauma among the victims of the violence is exhibited by fear whenever unrest is experienced in an area. Childhood trauma causes anger as children grow and may develop hatred towards other communities. Sexual violence during conflicts may also lead to fear and personal hatred as a result of ruined self-esteem among the victims.


Equal representation of all the communities and parties in the government is a significant step towards the peace process and prevention of future breakout of violence. The problem can be solving when all the political parties agree to end ethnic-based politics. Another solution is to ensure equal distribution of the county’s resources. Equal resources distribution will lead to a balanced economic growth and uniformity among all the political groups in the country. The government of the country should draw clear boundaries in the geographical regions to avoid land related wars.

In conclusion, it is evident that political violence is as a result of leadership failure. Leaders have been so selfish, and their quest for political and monetary power has led to the outbreak of armed conflicts and other problems in Sri Lanka. The citizens of the country have experienced numerous challenges as a result of politics based conflicts. The parties involved should meet and come up with strategies to end the violence and prevent further outbreaks.

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