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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 Sinhalese ethnic group, the military victory was met with an outpouring of relief and celebration. But many in Sri Lanka's Tamil ethnic minority -- 18 percent of the population -- reacted warily, wondering what would happen after the fall of the last resistance to Sinhalese dominance.
As the war ended, Mahinda