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‘How the Easter Bombings pushed Sri Lankans to vote for an alleged war criminal’

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Angad Singh, journalist at Vice News, writes that Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings made Gotabaya Rajapaksa, an alleged war criminal, a front runner in the upcoming Presidential election. 

Gotabaya has used the string of terror attacks to present himself as the “guy who’ll make Sri Lanka safe again” by prioritising national security. 

“In 2009, Rajapaksa ended the country's decades-long civil war, winning victory for the majority Sinhalese Buddhists by crushing a rebellion led by Tamils, the largest ethnic minority. Many Sinhalese Buddhists believe that makes him qualified to prevent ethnic extremism in the future.”

“Minorities and advocacy organizations see his tenure very differently. In the final months of the war, the government says fewer than 10,000 civilians were killed. But human rights groups allege Rajapaksa oversaw widespread war crimes; one U.N. estimate says the number of civilians killed by the military is closer to 70,000.”

“Video authenticated by the U.N. show Sinhalese forces killing captured soldiers, who are bound and stripped naked. Rajapaksa’s spokesperson Keheliya Rambukwella told VICE News those videos were ‘manufactured’ for use by terrorists as propaganda to revive extremism.”

While the current government has made next to no progress on the resolution, Gotabaya has already vowed to reject the resolution if he wins. 

Read more here: Gotabaya vows to reject UN resolution on accountability 

“If Rajapaksa wins the election, it would be a reminder to all minorities that the Sinhalese are in charge.”

Read the full article here