The majority nationalism of the Rajapaksa family has failed in Sri Lanka

By Arun Kumar Shrivastav

Majority nationalism can go wrong and lead leaders into hot soup! This is the unmistakable message of the crisis in Sri Lanka. The Rajapaksa family was the darling of the Sinhalese majority and practiced hateful policies against Hindus and Muslims. The isolation of the minority became the norm. For example, Buddhist monks would block Hindus from entering their temples. Hit by scarcity, these monks had to queue for essential items of daily use. The difficulties forced them to demand the removal of the Rajapaksas from the government. Last week, New Zealand provided NZ$500,000 to help feed children and farmers, and India sent 65,000 metric tons of urea to Sri Lanka.

The street protest by Sri Lankans that started last month has now turned into a huge spectacle around the world. People exasperated by their governments’ indifference to their plight in Africa and elsewhere, such as Pakistan, are reveling in the way Sri Lankans have treated their ruling leaders.

Even after Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down as prime minister last Monday, the protests continue and are now focused on the impeachment of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. A former lieutenant colonel, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, could continue in power until now thanks to the support of the Sri Lankan army, who are subject to the extreme difficulties the country is experiencing. For them, the presence of Rajapaksas ensures the continuation of the leniency and impunity they have enjoyed following the decisive war against Tamil rebels in 2009.

Meanwhile, mob violence, in viral video clips, has shown politicians’ cars being dumped in lakes and rivers. Lawmakers’ houses, including 3 houses belonging to the embattled Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, were set on fire. A fleet of expensive cars including Rolls Royce, Mclaren, Lamborghini and Ferrari belonging to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Nimal were consigned to the flames.

Twitter users from Pakistan and some African countries had a field day giving their opinion. “Do that in Kenya and you will see APS (Administrative Police Service) and GSU (General Services Unit, a paramilitary wing) send hundreds to their graves in the name of enforcing law and order,” said one Twitter user. from Kenya.

A Pakistani Twitter user posted a fake video of some young men being abused by a mob with the title that these are Sri Lankan ministers and that the Pakistani government has banned all Sri Lankan news so Pakistani ministers don’t suffer the same. destination.

Noted lawyer and civil rights activist Prashant Bhushan tweeted: Events in Sri Lanka hold ominous omens for India. How long can you distract people from the bread and butter issues with communal hate and polarization?

As if responding to Prashant Bhushan, Anand Ranganathan, the right-leaning writer and editor of Swarajya, tweeted: “While Sri Lankans want their nation to become India, some Indians want theirs to become Sri Lanka. . Nations recover, haters don’t.”

However, one thing about the Sri Lankan protests has been unique in that they were mostly quiet and peaceful, with drums, music and street cricket, until the final moments when violence erupted after government supporters violently attacked peaceful demonstrators. The reaction was immediate and the attackers were chased and beaten. Some of them had to jump into the water to escape the fury of the counterattack. This was followed by the burning of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s mansion in Hambantota.

A New York Times report said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, watched this entire proceeding on television. He yelled and yelled at the senior police officers asking them how they allowed the attackers to carry out such provocative acts. Soon, the army was deployed.

The reports added: “Many have described the root of the crisis as the impunity enjoyed by politicians and the military after a civil war plagued by allegations of crime against Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. The end of the war initiated a majority triumphalism, exploited by the Rajapaksas”.

Hungry people on the street clashed with the police and forced them to retreat. They also beat up journalists who would “misinform” people about the situation. A video claimed that Sri Lankan university students had invented anti-tear gas equipment to combat police who were incessantly firing tear gas bullets at protesters.

Finally, a new prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is in office and he is an old workhorse. “There is much to be done and undone…” he tweeted, adding that today he would detail some drastic measures to get the country back on track.

Will that change Sri Lanka?

One Twitter user responds: “I lived in Sri Lanka, the elites and parliamentarians lived in decline as if nothing could stop them. Now their houses are on fire, cars dumped in lakes, and PM is feeling the country. You’d think our elites would be worried about this, but they won’t be until it’s on their doorstep.”

Meanwhile, after Sri Lanka, Iran is witnessing strong protests over rising food prices. India has just stopped wheat exports and procurement conditions have been relaxed to build up stocks. The war between Russia and Ukraine has already left many African countries in a serious food crisis.

A Pakistani Twitter user says: “We are only a few months behind Sri Lanka.” Prophetic! (IPA service)

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