Spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan is in line to be the governor of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province following the presidential elections that gave a clear majority to Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The 47-year-old Muralitharan, who has pocketed 800 Test wickets, and was also a part of the 1996 World Cup that was won by the island nation, is facing the ire of fellow Tamil citizens over reports of him being appointed as the Governor of Tamil-dominated Northern Province.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was on Monday sworn in as the Sri Lankan president a day after he was declared the winner in the closely fought election, has reportedly thrown his weight behind Muratharan.
If Muratharan does become governor, then he will join Rajapaksa presidency as the governor of the Northern province, which has a huge majority of Sri Lankan Tamils.
While no official confirmation is out so far, local Tamils are believed to oppose Murali’s appointement as the former cricketer had backed Gotabaya when he was the Defence Secretary between 2005 and 2015 and was accused of war crimes.
The Tamils, both from India and Sri Lanka, had raised their voice for his arrest and prosecution. However, Sri Lankan government had then rejected the demand for his arrest.
Murali has always maintained that there were no war crimes. “There were no war crimes and no genocide is his public stand. How can he say this? Is not he himself a Tamilian? We are thoroughly disappointed with him. He is doing it to be in the good books Rajapaksas. It is terrible,” said a Tamil journalist from Kandy who was quoted in News18 website on Thursday.
“It is like adding insult to injury. Tamils in the north suffered the most under Gotabaya. More than 80% voted against him this time. Murali is disliked by them,” said a Colombo-based Sri Lankan Tamil, who did not want to reveal his name.