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Modi congratulates Mahinda Rajapaksa for 50 years in parliament despite human rights concerns

Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, congratulated Mahinda Rajapaksa for his 50 years in parliament despite overwhelming concerns over his human rights records.

On Twitter, the Indian Prime Minister stated:

Spoke to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa today to greet him on completing 50 years since his first election to the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Complimented him on an illustrious political career and wished him and the people of Sri Lanka good health, peace and prosperity.

Modi's statement comes as Sri Lanka's leadership continued to deny reports of war crimes and instead pardons convicted war criminals and promote military figures to senior government positions.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President of Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2015. He oversaw the final military offensive which massacred of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians. Thousands of children were among the dead.

Amongst the crimes that took place under Rajapaksa’s tenure were the countless forcible disappearances of Tamil children, many of whom were last seen in Sri Lankan military custody with their parents.

 

Rajapaksa has consistently undermined attempts at reconciliation, accountability, and justice. This month he stood with his brother, Sri Lanka’s president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and supported his claim that Sri Lanka would withdraw from any global body which attempted to prosecute Sri Lankan soldiers for war crimes.

The current Rajapaksa administration has seen to a great deal of reversing the limited progress made under the previous administration. This includes the pardoning of war criminal Sunil Rathnayake’s, who killed eight Tamil civilians, including three children, and increasing militarisation of the island.

Read more here: Sri Lanka’s new president is putting soldiers in charge of everything – The Economist

Modi’s statement follows a telephone meeting between Modi and Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa where both parties pledged to strengthen bilateral relations in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his Twitter statement Modi further commemorated the death of Minister A. Thondaman stating:

“Also condoled the sad and untimely demise of Minister A. Thondaman, leader of Indian Origin Tamils in Sri Lanka. Prayers for peace to the departed soul and strength to his family to bear the grievous loss.”

Read more here: Ceylon Workers’ Congress leader Arumugan Thondaman passes away

Read Modi’s Twitter statement here.