Several thousand Sri Lankan soldiers attended a military talent show held at the occupying military base in Jaffna this week, as the army continued its decades-long militarisation of the region.
An official military website announced that the army organised a “self-styled mega reality spectacle” labelled “Jaffna Got Talent 2019”. More than 7,500 soldiers were reportedly in attendance at the show, many in their military camouflage uniforms.
Several senior military commanders were also present, including Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi, commander of the army in Jaffna and who the military said was the “architect and prime mover of the Jaffna’s first military reality show of this nature”.
Cash prizes of Rs 100,000 were handed to the winners of the show, as well as other large amounts for runners up. All the winners were Sri Lankan soldiers.
Since occupying the Jaffna peninsula in 1995, the Sri Lankan military has continued to exert its large presence in the region and continued to involve itself in civilian activities as well as hold on to large swathes of land.