and the light went out in Jaffna
It was ‘Deepavali’ eve in Jaffna last Monday and the
town was set to mark the event on a grand scale. The streets were
bustling with pavement hawkers and shops doing brisk business.
Scenes of overcrowded buses and busy streets late in the evening
were an indication that the residents were preparing for the Festival
of Lights, marked by Hindu devotees with religious observances,
visits to the temple and relatives.
The night skies were lit up by fireworks and the calm was disturbed
by the burst of fire crackers in the town and environs that are
usually more accustomed to gun fire or grenade explosions.
a single incident in Jaffna town where a Police constable was killed
in a grenade attack changed the festive mood. Overnight, the streets
On Deepavali morning, the otherwise crowded Nallur Kovil had few
devotees visiting the temple. The previous night’s preparations
for the festival seemed to have been overshadowed by the incident.
‘Keep away from walking close to the army sentry point,’
was the warning of an elderly devotee, S. Vedhariam, 69, heading
to the temple. For Jaffna residents who have experienced more drastic
changes than what took place on Monday night, it was just another
indication of how they have to adapt to the day to day happenings.
Our photographer Ishara S. Kodikara captured these pictures on the
eve of ‘Deepavali’ and on the day of the festival.