Former Sri Lankan cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan has reiterated his support for Sri Lanka’s new president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who stands accused of heading a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.
“I support President Rajapaksa because he is the right person to lead our country,” Muralitharan told the Hindustan Times, shrugging off the reports of human rights violations.
“Over the years before he came to power, there was no progress. The economy was down, nothing was moving. President Rajapaksa is an administrator, a former defence secretary and army man. He is a clever person who will carry out reforms, strike a different path, improve lives and do the right thing.”
His support for Rajapaksa comes after last month’s presidential elections, where the Tamil North-East voted overwhelmingly against a return to a Rajapaksa-led regime.
Muralitharan went on to criticise Indian activists and politicians from Tamil Nadu, stating “Tell me, if there is a problem within your family, do your neighbours interfere?”
“Tamil Nadu politicians do not understand the problems of Sri Lankans,” he added. “They should allow our government to get on with governance.”
See more from the Hindustan Times here.
Cricketer Muralitharan is well known for his unwavering alliance with the Rajapaksas, and has himself denied that war crimes had occurred. Muralitharan - arguably Sri Lanka’s most famous cricket player - stated he “did not have any problems as a Tamil”, and even claimed that former British prime minister David Cameron had been “misled” over reports of rights abuses faced by Tamils. Previously he has compared Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya's older brother and former president who also stand accused of war crimes, to Nelson Mandela.