Democracy needs to return in Lanka: Sanath Jayasuriya

Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lanka captain and one of the greatest cricket players to emerge from the sub-continent, said that he is completely in favour of the protesters, who have taken control of the President’s residence.

“It is a very, very sad situation as to what Sri Lankan public has to go through. My country is suffering and I am deeply pained to see people standing in long queues to buy essential food items. There is no electricity, no fuel and above all basic medicines are unavailable. It couldn’t have gotten worse for the common man,” Jayasuruya said to PTI in an exclusive interview.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, left for the Maldives hours before he was expected to resign amid widespread protests over his handling of a devastating economic crisis meanwhile Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency across the island nation, with the parliament speaker saying Wickremesinghe has been appointed acting president by Rajapaksa.

“There are no words to describe how our politicians have completely mis-managed the country,” Jayasuruiya said.

“If you ask me about the public, who are currently inside the President’s house, I don’t see anything wrong as they have been peaceful in their protests. They have been repeatedly told to not vandalise public property. Yes, a lot of people have come from different parts of Sri Lanka. They all arrived in Colombo on July 9 with their demand of president’s resignation,” said the cricket legend.

Jayasuriya said he is hopeful that very soon democracy will return and things will slowly become normal in the long run.

Asked if he endorses Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s elevation as the acting President, he said: “Ranil has no option but he has to adhere to the orders from speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and do accordingly. To restore peace and democracy back in the country, Ranil will need to speak to likes of Sajith Premadasa (Leader of opposition) along with others cutting across party lines. He needs to bring on board country’s Muslim leaders, Tamil leaders to the discussion table. We need to have democracy restored in our country.”