By Ravi Jalhotra
Former Sri Lankan cricketer, Roshan Mahanama requested India to support Sri Lanka during this economic crisis and said India has always stood with Sri Lanka like an elder brother.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Mahanama said, “We request support from India, as it has always stood with Sri Lanka like an elder brother. We have good relations with Pakistan to an extent and with China also. We need support from all of them.”
Earlier, on Wednesday, India supplied over 270,000 MT of fuel to Sri Lanka to help ease the power crisis in the island. The consignment of fuel is part of the US$ 500 million oil line of credit extended by India.
Mahanama said, Sri Lankan leaders are to blame for the ongoing crisis, but the country will definitely bounce back. He also said, he usually stays away from the limelight, as he is much concerned to make this place better for future generations.
“My main concern is toward my people in Sri Lanka, my fans who supported me during my good and bad times, so now it is my responsibility to take care of them during tough times. Yes, we are in a real crisis, but I want to say that the Sri Lankan leaders are to blame for the present crisis. We have no electricity, no fuel supply, and a shortage of food,” he said.
“He added that youngsters have taken to the street to protest. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country. The health system is also good, but all these are taken by politicians.”
“We’ve been suffering for the last 74 years because the Government’s sole objective is to remain in power. How can they (politicians) remain in power when their job is to look after the people? They should come up with solutions and start talking to international bodies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to overcome the crisis,” he said.
I personally feels that politicians can’t run away from their responsibility. The Nation has come together for the first time and everyone want to change the regime.
“I urge all Sri Lankans to stay together, to show your commitment, but don’t lose control and hope, as we need to hold our politicians accountable for the situation they have pushed the country into. We need to change the political system, but right now these politicians have to deliver essentials to the people,” he said.
He added that he is deeply hurt to see how this beautiful country has been destroyed. “I have a strong sense that we will bounce back, all we need is to have support from countries like India.
A section of the Media is showing a negative picture of the ongoing protest in Sri Lanka against the politicians,” he said.
“We need support at present and the countries who support us should not expect anything in return. This is a beautiful country where tourists from India and other countries come to visit. I request every country to come forward and help us to come out of this crisis,” he added.
The country is witnessing protests over the Government’s handling of the worst economic crisis in decades.
Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis, with the food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people. The economy has been in free-fall since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to the crush of tourism.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import fuel, leading to power cuts. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.