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The family being blamed for 22 million Sri Lankans' woes

Many Sri Lankans belive that the rule of one family -- the Rajapaksas -- is the reason for the ongoing mess.

Sri Lanka Economic Crisis Rajapaska family rule explained
Colombo, First Published Apr 8, 2022, 1:36 PM IST

Anger against the ruling Rajapaksa brothers has spilt onto the streets amidst the deteriorating economic crisis in Sri Lanka. The crisis worsened to such an extent that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had to impose a general emergency in the island nation. Later, though, the decision was revoked. 

Explained: Sri Lanka's 'bad economics' an opportunity for India

Many Sri Lankans believe that the rule of one family -- the Rajapaksas -- is the reason for the ongoing mess. The family has been dominating the Sri Lankan political spectrum for two decades. Besides, their other brothers had been holding top cabinet berths before their resignation in the wake of the economic crisis. Nine other relatives have been holding other plum posts in the government and embassies. 

Let us know about the Rajapaksa family 

Rajapaksas belong to a landlord family from the Giruwapattuwa village in the Hambantota district in Sri Lanka. The current president and prime minister's grandfather Don David Rajapaksa was an influential landlord prior to the independence in 1948. 

Their uncle, Don Mathew Rajapaksa was the State Council member from Hambantota in then Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. The seat was later represented by their father Don Alwin Rajapaksa.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

He currently is the president of Sri Lanka. Prior to this, he was the secretary to the defence ministry, controlling the day-to-day affairs of the armed forces and police from 2005 to 2015. He became president in 2019.

As per the reports, he was also responsible for the killing of thousands of Tamils during his tenure as secretary to the defence ministry. 

Gotabaya is the first military person to be elected as President of Sri Lanka and also the first one to be elected president who had not held any elected office prior.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

He became the prime minister for the second time in 2020. Previously, he held this post in 2004. Mahinda also held the post of president from 2005 to 2015. 

Under his tenure as president, in 2009, about 40,000 Tamilians were killed. It was he who moved Sri Lanka ahead to borrow around $7 billion for infrastructure projects.

Basil Rajapaksa

He was the finance minister before the entire cabinet resigned some days ago. He used to manage the country's economy. The Sri Lankans call him 'Mr 10 per cent'.

Several cases were lodged against him, but all have been dropped after his elder brother became president.

Chamal Rajapaksa 

Chamal held the irrigation portfolio and was number two in the defence ministry after his brother, Gotabaya. He had held the speaker's post in Parliament and was the minister of shipping and aviation. 

Before plunging into politics, he was a police officer and had once served as a personal bodyguard to the world's first woman prime minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

Namal Rajapaksa 

Namal is the eldest son of Mahinda and is being groomed for the top post one day. He became an MP in 2010 and currently holds sports and youth portfolios. 

Shasheendra Rajapaksa

Shasheendra is the son of Irrigation minister Chamal Rajapaksa and is the current state minister of paddy and cereals, organic food, vegetables, fruits, chillies, onions and potatoes, seed production and high-tech agriculture. 

Easter Sunday Islamist attacks of 2019 and the Covid-19 pandemic caused a major setback to the Sri Lankan economy. The situation has led the government to run to India and China for bailout packages.

Also Read: Sri Lanka crisis deepens: Probe on against cops for stopping soldiers on bike

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