Sri Lanka parliamentarian and leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa, has forced a signboard in Mannar to be removed and changed to display the Sinhala description above the Tamil description, following a visit to Palmyrah Fibre Production Centre on Sunday.
Weerwansa was invited to inaugurate the Palm Development Board's 'Panandumbu Production Center' located at Selvari Village, Mannar on Saturday, January 18. Following the ceremony, he then published the photos on social media, which drew heavy criticism from almost entirely Sinhala followers – after they realised that the Tamil description was listed above the Sinhala description on the noticeboard.
After the backlash and a plethora of racist comments, he then demanded that the signboard was immediately altered. He instructed the relevant authority to modify the signboard to display the Sinhala description above the Tamil.
Respecting his demands, authorities modified the signboard by Monday evening, with the signboard displaying the Sinhala description above the Tamil description.
Weerawansa was delighted with the change and published the change on his social media pages to his followers, notifying them that the alteration was made under his instructions and posted pictures of the noticeboards before and after the changes.
Sri Lankan parliamentarian Mano Ganesan took to Twitter to slam Weerawansa’s actions, stating,
“But doing this WW (Wimal Weerawansa) is alienating the Tamil community from the national mainstream & making Tamils feel that they are under a ‘Sinhala #hegemonic #occupation”. On the other hand this minister has no legal basis for his false nationalist behavior. #lka
Constitutional articles 18 & 19 declare both Sinhala & Tamil as official national languages. Nowhere it is said that Sinhala should be above. Article 22 says that public records in the country shall be in Sinhala except north & east province where Tamil shall be so used. #lka
Hence, a per spirit of #constitution, it is implied that sign boards in Tamil majority areas should have Tamil at the top. WW has no knowledge of the constitution and he is an ignorant #communalist. #lka" he tweeted
Weerawansa has been known to express chauvinistic attitudes and racism towards Tamils before as he previously vented his frustration with the Jaffna Airport signboard that displayed Tamil description above the Sinhala description.