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Karuna comes out of hiding to hail return of Rajapaksa

The war-crimes accused paramilitary leader Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna delivered a statement, purportedly on behalf of Tamils, on Saturday about the sudden swearing in of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse as the Prime Minister.

"This decision is welcomed by the Sri Lankan Tamil community," he alleged in Tamil. He noted having predicted this change three months back, and that he and other members of the TMVP are currently engaged in discussion with Rajapaksa on ensuring a "radiant future for the people."

Karuna claimed that Ranil Wickremesinghe had ample opportunities to improve the Sri Lankan economy, deal with widespread corruption, as well as decrease rates of crime and murder, and cited the failure to resolve these issues, as well as involvement with the Indian government, as being reasons for the eventual rise of Rajapaksa to power once again.

He reiterated that he and his party the TMVP were pleased by the change, and when asked by a reporter of his thoughts on the presidential election, claimed he hoped that an individual that truly understood the Tamils run for the candidacy.

Regarding the Tamil National Alliance, he said that their former actions were "foolish," and did not result in change. He said that the TNA is capable of future change, however, only if they cooperate with the new government.

Karuna also called on the Tamil diaspora to support and believe in the future of the Rajapaksa regime.

Karuna had previously maintained a low profile since his arrest on corruption charges in late November 2016, days after Maaveerar Naal. He and his allies are implicated in several charges of war crimes, abductions and murders across the North-East.