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Salman Khan expands interests in Sri Lanka with purchase of cricket franchise

Salman Khan 

Bollywood actor Salman Khan, who has previously campaigned for Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2014, expanded his interests in Sri Lanka this week, by purchasing the Kandy Tuskers cricket franchise in the Lanka Premier League.

In 2014 the Bollywood actor Salman Khan and Sri Lankan actress Jacqueline Fernandez campaigned for Rajapaksa as he sought re-election as president on the invitation of Rajapaksa's son Namal. It was the first time that a Bollywood actor promised to campaign for a Sri Lankan leader. When Salman was asked about his views of Mahina Rajapaksa at the time, he stated "the president is an amazing man and he is one of the most humble people that I have met."

Salman has also received backlash for attending the International Indian Film Academy held in Sri Lanka in 2014 after numerous groups, such as South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, Film Employees Federation of South India (FEFSI), Tamil Nadu Theatre-Owners Association and Tamil Nadu Producers’ Council, called for a boycott of the event to condemn Sri Lanka for its atrocities against Tamils. While stars like Kamal Hassan and Rajinikanth openly called for the boycott of the event, Salman Khan ignored their concerns attending the event anyways, causing rights groups to protest in front of his house and the FEFSI to call for a boycott of all his future films. Furthermore, after the FEFSI called for a stop on filming in Sri Lanka due to their human rights concerns, however, Salman Khan denied their requests changing the shoot location of the movie 'Ready'  from Mauritius to Sri Lanka.

When Salman Khan was questioned about his attendance he told the Times, "We are here to do something good, something that will help people. Why should anyone talk about negative things?" 

Salman Khan, younger brother Sohail and father Salim Khan all purchased the team under Sohail Khan International LLP, with Sohail telling the Times of India, that "Salman will attend all the Kandy matches.” Sohail Khan also told the Times of India, that they "see potential" in Sri Lanka and their team the Kandy Tuckers. 

Promoter of the Lanka Premier League, Innovative Production Group (IPG) CEO Anil Mohan said the Khan family "not only add glamour to the whole event but are also committed toward the sport.”

The Kandy Tuskers are one of five teams in the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League, alongside Colombo Kings, Jaffna Stallions, Dambulla Hawks and Galle Gladiators. The league is scheduled to be played from November 21 to December 31 where the teams will compete in 23 matched over 15 days for the title.  

Read more about 2014 protests against Salman Khan here.

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