Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has come in for sharp criticism in the social media for his comment when he mocked a questioner - “if you can’t speak in English, speak in Tamil, I understand Tamil" - thereby avoiding to answer a core question from Dr. Sockalingam Yogalingam, a Tamil based in London.
He hit back saying, “I hope there are others who understand my English”.
“What is being done to stop happenings in the North, such as genocide, militarization, land grabbing, Buddhistization?," he questioned the island nation’s president.
Dr. Yogalingam representing the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) raised the above question when Ranil Wickremesinghe was interacting at a meeting organized by the Conservative Environment Network in London. A few years back in Oxford too he confronted Wickremesinghe and was arrested.
Instead of answering his question, Ranil mocked him when the questioner said, “It is called a democratic Sri Lankan government, which I don’t believe in”. Immediately intervening, President Wickremesinghe said he can “understand Tamil”.
The chair of the meeting Thomas Heilmann - a member of the German Parliament Bundestag cut short Dr. Yogalingam. The meeting was also attended by Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President of Mongolia and Vicky Ford, former UK Minister for Development.
Netizens have condemned Ranil's reaction as ‘arrogant’ and ‘unbecoming of a president’. They have also questioned ‘if Ranil can understand Tamil, why doesn’t he understand the Tamils' issues?’
A few weeks earlier, he snubbed the Director General of Archeology Anura Manathunga in a meeting saying “if he doesn’t know history he will teach him”.