Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa Shows True Colors with Autonomy Comments

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa Shows True Colors with Autonomy Comments

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa began his visit to India today amid protests over recent statements he made that appeared to rule out political autonomy for Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority.

While the president had previously promised to delegate authority to the provinces, as required by the constitution, while also broadening dialogue with the Tamils, he said in a speech for Sri Lankan Independence Day on Monday that it would not be practical for the island country “to have different administrations based on ethnicity.”

Alan Keenan, project director and senior analyst for Sri Lanka at the International Crisis Group, told Trend Lines that the remarks were the latest reflection of the true feelings of the president and his powerful brothers, all of whom hold high office. He explained that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s brothers Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defense secretary, and Basil Rajapaksa, the minister of economic development, had said similar things in the past.

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