Crossing Divides: The Sri Lankan civil war enemies who fell in love

Media captionGauri and Roshan were once mortal enemies, but are now a happy family.

To watch Gauri Malar and Roshan Jayathilake playing with their 11-month-old daughter, you’d never guess that just 10 years ago they were mortal enemies.

Gauri, 26, was a child soldier for the separatist Tamil Tigers, fighting what they saw as an oppressive regime propped up by people like Roshan.

“I had not seen Sinhalese or spoken to them,” she says. “We thought they were bad people and would kill us.”

To Roshan, the rebels were a hated foe whose bombing campaign during a 26-year civil war robbed innocent people of their lives.

“We looked at each other as enemies,” the 29-year-old told the BBC’s Crossing Divides season, which is about people coming together in a fragmented world. “But now we are happily married. Our daughter is the symbol of our love.”

So, what brought about the transformation which means they share dreams of building a house, buying a car and putting their little girl, Senuli Chamalka, through school?

‘One of my friends was killed’

Sri Lanka’s conflict flared up in 1983, when Tamil separatists – angered by increasing nationalism on the part of the Sinhalese majority – killed 13 soldiers in an ambush.

The incident sparked anti-Tamil riots, in which several hundred of the minority group were killed.

The conflict…

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News


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