Almost three decades of war between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in May, when the Sri Lankan military waged a final battle with the Tamil Tigers and killed the group's leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

The state emerged victorious, but at a great cost: months of intense fighting in the country's north killed up to 7,000 civilians and injured another 13,000, according to UN estimates. As the conflict drew to a close, about 287,000 Tamils were interned in government-controlled refugee camps.

In Colombo, the country's capital, and in southern parts of the island dominated by the majority

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