April 19, 2018

Sri Lankan Library Under Siege

By LJ Staff

The Sri Lankan government’s plans to reopen a library in Jaffna were halted February 14 by political strife with local rebels. The library recently had been rebuilt to replace the original facility, which was torched by political mobs 22 years ago. The library served the Tamil ethnic group, and when anti-Tamil Sinhalese mobs stormed the city, the facility’s entire collection of 97,000 books and other materials was destroyed. After fighting for their independence since the 1980s, Tamil rebels signed a cease-fire with the nation’s government in February 2002. The construction of a new library, which will house a collection of roughly 25,000 items, was a gesture of good faith by the Sri Lanka government. However, all members of the town council filed a joint resignation claiming they had been threatened by rebel supporters who claim that reopening the library without including any documentation of why the facility was razed was historically improper. The library currently is being guarded by soldiers and local police to prevent an assault.