FUTURE IN QUESTION
The worst financial crisis since Sri Lanka’s independence in 1948 has put the future of the Rajapaksa in jeopardy. When Mahinda became prime minister in 2004, the fortunes of the Rajapaksas, a family of rural landowners from Hambantotoa district, began to prosper.
After winning the 2005 presidential election, Mahinda and then Defense Minister Gotabaya ended the civil war with Tamil separatists in the north and east of the country with a brutal government offensive that killed tens of thousands.
Mahinda was denied a third term as president in 2015, but the family returned to power in the 2019 presidential election, this time with Gotabaya at the helm.
Two of the nine deaths across the country in Monday’s violence occurred in Weeraketiya after a crowd attacked the offices of a local lawmaker and shot his security detail in response, police said.
Squads of soldiers and police officers, given the power to fire to prevent looting and damage to public property, and when lives are threatened, now guard the destroyed sites.
From the mansion, the group proceeded to a museum dedicated to Gotabaya and Mahinda’s late father, MP DA Rajapaksa, where they vandalized exhibits and set fire to the interior.
When Reuters visited her on Wednesday, little was left save for a gold bust of her father, face down on the blackened floor. Homes and businesses linked to lawmakers from the ruling party were also badly damaged.
Some locals continue to support the Rajapaksa brothers, who are seen as heroes by the island’s Sinhala Buddhist majority for crushing the Tamil uprising.
Ratnaweera Nandasiri, a 67-year-old paraplegic shopkeeper and longtime supporter of the Rajapaksas, said they gave him a disability allowance which helped him survive during the pandemic.
On Tuesday night he watched as a separate group of about 20 men used iron bars to demolish a statue of DA Rajapaksa in the nearby town of Tangalle.
From his shop, which faces the memorial garden, he said he protested to the men.
“This is the father of the men who ended the war,” he told them.
Read Also :