The president of Sri Lanka released a Thai Pongal message to "Hindus" in Sri Lanka and across the globe declaring it a “special religious” festival exclusively for “Hindu devotees”.
While world leaders and government officials extended their Thai Pongal wishes to Tamils across the world, the Sri Lanka president’s message failed to mention the word “Tamil” once. Historically, Thai Pongal is a Tamil harvest festival celebrated by Tamils of all religions, not only Hindus.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa said, “I am extremely pleased to extend my best wishes to our fellow Hindu brethren who celebrate this festival along with Hindu devotees across the world”.
Rajapaksa's failure to mention Tamils in relation to a festival celebrated by Tamils has raised questions, as Thai Pongal is a multi-faith festival that unites Hindus, Muslims, and Christians alike.
In the past Malaysian Tamils have expressed their annoyance in response to the Malaysian education ministry's reference to Thai Pongal as a "religious festival".
Read Rajapaksa's message here.