Galle

Context

Galle is in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka and is the capital city of the Galle District. Ethni- cally, Sinhalese are the majority, constituting 94.4% of the population. Second most numerous are the Moors (3.6%), followed by Tamils (1.9%). Galle is also religiously diverse, with a Buddhist majority (94% of the population), followed by Muslims (3.7%), and Hindus (1.5%).  Much as the North and East were the strongholds of the LTTE during the war, the Southern Province, including Galle was the strong hold of the ‘leftist’ JVP, who were in full force in 1971 and again in 1987. The main recruits of the socialist and nationalist JVP movement were unemployed youth

and students from rural areas. During the 1971 insurgency, the JVP cadres managed to capture

the Matara District in the Southern Province and Ambalangoda in the Galle District. The Govern- ment of Sri Lanka, with international aid, suppressed the insurgency before the rebels captured other towns and police stations. Galle youth, similar to Colombo, grew up without many opportunities for communication and interaction with the Tamils and there are occasional notable conflicts between the Sinhalese and Moor ethnic groups in certain parts of Galle. Galle is also a beach town, and the Dutch Fort in Galle is a major tourist attraction in the region.