As the final results of Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections rolled in during the early hours of Friday morning, supporters of the Rajapaksa family - Sinhala Buddhist nationalists who now hold the seats of both prime minister and president - celebrated with firecrackers around the island nation.
“Now we can practice being a truly Sinhala Buddhist nation,” said Anula Mendis, a rickshaw driver in Colombo. “We have a Sinhala Buddhist parliament, and the dance of the Tamil and Muslim terrorist politicians are over. It’s our rule or get out.”
三级成人视频Sinhalese make up the majority of the Sri Lankan population, at about 70 percent, and although they do not all share this sentiment, the Rajapaksas have triumphed off the back of a campaign that catered to the community.
But with serious allegations of human rights abuses against Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was re-elected as Prime Minister with a landslide, and his brother Gotabaya, who was elected President in November三级成人视频, critics say the resurgence of the political dynasty rings an ominous note for minority communities.
The Rajapaksa brothers became iconic figures in 2009 when - while serving as president and defence secretary - they crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels三级成人视频, ending a three decade war that claimed tens of thousands of lives from both sides. But they have been accused of presiding over war crimes in the process.
“A parliament made of Sinhala national Buddhists, Buddhist monks and murderers, who believe in their supremacy is bad news for the Tamils and Muslims of the country,” said a Tamil rights advocate who asked for anonymity. “It will be difficult times ahead for us,” she said.
三级成人视频Although some Tamils themselves voted for the Rajapaksas, she said they did so "out of fear of reprisal, [and] many didn’t go out to vote... because they have lost all hope."
The Rajapaksas are hoping that their near two-thirds majority in parliament will allow them to repeal parts of the 19th amendment to the country's constitution, which reduced the presidency's power.
“We will definitely change some points in the 19th amendment or draw a new constitution after discussion with the members of parliament,” Mahinda told The Telegraph. Critics say that could mean an end to presidential term limits, bringing the police and judiciary under their power and removing any protection for minorities.
三级成人视频Mahinda told The Telegraph he would ensure minority representation in parliament, but Tamil and Muslim minority communities are unconvinced and say there is once again a climate of fear in the country.
Several minority lawyers and rights activists have been arrested in recent months under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. “It’s a very scary moment as a minority activist,” said Shreen Suhoor, an activist for Tamil speaking communities. “On podiums, during elections, the Rajapaksa contestants have even said that they will ‘take care’ of civil society groups.”
Others see the resurgence of the Rajapaksas as a threat to the very existence of a united Sri Lanka. “There will be crackdown on dissent. The Rajapksa regime is very strongly majoritarian. It asserts the Sinhala Buddhist identity,” Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives think tank, told The Telegraph.
“So we’re moving towards a situation where the notion of Sri Lanka as a country which is made of unity and diversity is jettisoned. And we’re going towards a mono-ethnic, mono-religious type of government.”