“Govt Cannot Ignore People’s Needs”: Sri Lankan Cricketers Speak Up Against ‘Man-Made’ Crisis

Amid the ongoing political turmoil and economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the country’s cricket stars have chosen to speak up against the wrongdoings of the Rajapaksa government. Former Sri Lanka captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, along with batting star Bhanuka Rajapaksa have expressed their anguish on social media websites against the curfews and emergency imposed in the country. 

Sri Lanka is in the grip of an unprecedented shortage of food, fuel and other essentials — along with record inflation and crippling power cuts with no sign of an end to the economic woes. At the same time, the Sri Lankan government, to quell protests against the mishandling of economy, has imposed a national emergency and curfews across the island nation. 

“I’m sad to see emergency law and curfew in Sri Lanka. The government cannot ignore the needs of the people who have every right to protest. Detaining people who do is not acceptable and I am very proud of the brave Sri Lankan lawyers who rushed to their defence,” Jayawardena, who is the head coach of IPL team Mumbai Indians, posted on Twitter.

“True leaders own up to mistakes. There is massive urgency here to protect the people of our country united in their suffering. These problems are man-made and can be fixed by the right, qualified people. Certain people controlling the economy of this country have lost the people’s confidence and must stand down. We then need a good team to give the country confidence and belief. There is no time to waste. It is time to be humble, not make excuses and to do the right thing. #PeoplePower,” he wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, former captain and legendary wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara too took to social media, urging that political agenda be put aside for now to solve the situation. 

Sangakkara, who is currently in India with his IPL team Rajasthan Royals (RR), wrote on his Instagram: “Sri Lankans are going through one of the toughest times imaginable. It is heartbreaking to see the despair of people and families as they struggle to make it through the day; and each day for them gets harder. The people are raising their voices and asking for what is needed: a solution.

“While some are reacting in resentment and anger to that voice, others are trying to take undue advantage of it. The right choice is to listen to the people, put aside destructive personal and political agendas and act in the best interests of Sri Lanka. The people are not an enemy. Sri Lanka is its people. Time is fast running out, the people and their future must be protected and provided for,” he noted.

Batting star Bhanuka Rajapaksa, playing for Punjab Kings, also took to social media to stand by his protesting countrymen.

“Even though I am many miles away, I can still feel the anguish of my fellow Sri Lankans, as they struggle to make it through each day. Now, they have found even their most fundamental rights suppressed, in an effort to quell their voices. But when 22 million voices rise as one, it cannot be ignored. The people of Sri Lanka deserve to be heard. The people of Sri Lanka deserve to live without the fear that they may not be able to provide for their families. The people of Sri Lanka deserve better,” Rajapaksa wrote. 

Meanwhile, in a major political development late Sunday, all 26 ministers in the cabinet aside from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa submitted letters of resignation at a late-night meeting on Sunday. 

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