Work for welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils: Namal Rajapaksa

Sri Lanka's newly elected president Gotabaya Rajapaksa greets people as he leaves after taking the oath of office during the swearing in ceremony held at the 140 B.C Ruwanweli Seya Buddhist temple in ancient kingdom of Anuradhapura in northcentral Sri Lanka Monday, Nov. 18, 2019. (PTI Photo)

Two days after political parties in Tamil Nadu termed as “unfortunate” election of his uncle Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka president, Sri Lankan MP Namal Rajapaksa on Tuesday asked them to shun issuing “self-centric and opportunistic statements” and instead focus on uplifting the lives of minority Tamils in the island nation.

Namal, son of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, issued a two-page statement tearing into MDMK chief Vaiko, PMK’s S Ramadoss and VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan for their comments criticizing Gotabaya’s ascension to presidency.

“A few leaders in Tamil Nadu had never thought constructively about the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils. Instead, they use the Sri Lankan Tamils as a tool to further their opportunistic political needs... The statements by Vaiko, Thirumavalavan and Ramadoss criticizing Gotabaya’s election is nothing but an attempt to create a further rift,” Namal said in the statement in Tamil.

Gotabaya, who was Defence Secretary during the last phase of the civil war in 2009 that ended the 30-year reign of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is much disliked in Tamil Nadu for his alleged role in the crimes committed during the war.

Namal asked political leaders in Tamil Nadu to contribute their bit in uplifting the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. Tamils live pre-dominantly in North and Eastern parts of the island which was infested by a civil war for three decades. Normalcy is limping back in these areas after the end of the war in 2009.

The statement by Namal is seen as yet another attempt by the powerful Rajapaksa family to reach out to the Tamils who are still hostile to them.

The North and Eastern parts had overwhelmingly supported Gotabaya’s rival Sajith Premadasa in the November 16 presidential polls.

Recalling a visit by a delegation of MPs from India, which included Thirumavalavan, to Sri Lanka after the war, Namal said these leaders had not just visited north and east but had also engaged with the leadership and learned from on the initiatives taken to help the minorities.

“The new president and the new government that will be formed soon will work with good intentions and in a transparent manner on all occasions. I appeal to political leaders in Tamil Nadu to stop criticizing the President and think constructively about welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils,” Namal said in the statement.

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