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‘Violence will not achieve the change’: Mahela Jayawardene appeals for peace in Sri Lanka

Former Sri Lanka captain and Mumbai Indians head coach says violence will not achieve the desired change in his country

With the acute economic crisis bringing about civil unrest in Sri Lanka, their former cricket captain and the current Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene has appealed for peace.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Jayawardene wrote: “History has given us lessons of civil war and distrust among people through race and religion disharmony.. Also how it’s been used as a weapon to fulfil own agendas.. Divided We Fall and United We Stand Strong 🙏🏻 Always think as Sri Lankan !!”

He added: “Violence will not achieve the Change we all seeking for and truly amazing discipline everyone showed for the last 30 days. So please let’s not let vested interest take over people power”.

Several former Sri Lankan cricketers have raised their voice and actively participated in the protest. The country is under a state of emergency amid its worst economic crisis.

On Tuesday, Sri Lanka’s armed forces were ordered to shoot at any persons damaging public property or threatening lives, Defence Ministry spokesman Nalin Herath said. This order came as anti-government protesters in Sri Lanka set up a checkpoint on the road leading to the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo to prevent the Rajapaksa family loyalists from fleeing the country, amidst violence and widespread protests.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, resigned as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Monday, as the authorities imposed a nationwide curfew.

Speaking to The Indian Express on Tuesday, on condition of anonymity, a former Sri Lanka batsman, a part of the 1996 World Cup-winning squad, said that he would continue to raise his voice and would do whatever has been required in the best interest of his country.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Cricket Australia is monitoring the unrest in Sri Lanka but is confident the national team’s seven-week tour of the island will go ahead as scheduled in June and July. Australia are scheduled to play three T20Is, five ODIs and two Tests. Two T20Is and three ODIs are to be played in capital Colombo.

Cricket Australia’s security chief visited Sri Lanka last month, when a state of emergency was first declared, and gave the all-clear for the tour.

Indian Express

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