Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his misguided astrological and numerological wisdom held the seventh presidential elections on January 8th 2015. When the date was announced most people yearning for a regime change in Sri Lanka noted the symbolic significance of January 8th in a different context. It was on January 8th 2009 that Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge , the well known editor of “The Sunday Leader” was brutally assassinated in broad daylight while on his way to work. Many of Lasantha’s family,friends,colleagues and readers had been consistently demanding that justice be done for the murdered editor but to no avail. It was an open secret then that the hands of Rajapaksa regime were stained with the blood of Lasantha Wickrematunge. So when the presidential poll was fixed for Jan 8th 2015 there was an optimistic feeling in these circles that the Rajapaksa regime would be overthrown on the date of Lasantha’s death. If that happened it would have been truly an instance of poetic justice,it was felt then.
Grave site decorated with fresh flowers, and candles~Pic by: @DushiYanthini
The unexpected happened and on Jan 8th 2015 Maithripala Sirisena obtaining votes cutting across race,religion, class and regional differences was elected president. There was buoyant optmism in Sri Lanka as Sirisena became president and Ranil Wickremesinghe Prime Minister. A “good governance” Govt was set up. A 100 day program was drawn up. The country basked in the glow of a gloriously radiant dawn. Alas!that dawn has proved to be a false dawn!
There is disappointment on almost every front and the reasons are known to all. Disillusionment has set in. An important yardstick to measure the performance of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt is provided on Jan 8th. Even as the anniversary of President Sirisena’s electoral victory is celebrated on Jan 8th , the death anniversary of Lasantha Wickrematunge is also observed and mourned by those near and dear to the slain editor. An inevitable question arises on Jan 8th. Have the murderers of Lasantha Wickrematunge been charged in courts? The answer sadly is “NO”!
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