“Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka : The Dilemma of Building the Unitary State."

Dr. A.R.M. Imtiyaz

The ethnic conflict of Sri Lanka is a well-known issue of the international political arena.

Desire to maintain the unitary state structure of the country, while weakening the political solution to the deadly ethnic civil war in Sri Lanka, aggravated the ethnic tensions between the Tamils and the Sinhalese, the dominant majority ethnic group. This paper attempts to look at how the Sinhalese political elites in their quest for a power attempted to consolidate the unitary structure of the island since country’s independence in 1948, and it argues that Sinhalese unwillingness to share the power with the Tamils led the Tamils to lose trust in the state and its institutions and thus, gave birth to the violent Tamil political movements including that of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The paper is by exploring the process of the origin (pre-independent era) and consolidation (post-independent era) of the unitary structure, attempting to identify major root causes of the ethnic conflict presently known to us today.]

Click for PDF File: Paper on Sri Lanka : “Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka : The Dilemma of Building the Unitary State."  By Dr. AR.M. Imtiyaz, as appeared in Peace and Conflict in South Asia, (Amsterdam : Elsevier, 2008),