COLOMBO: With legal and political means having failed to save former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa from the numerous corruption cases against him, his followers have resorted to the traditional Lankan weapon of “ritual cursing” to destroy the tormentor.
“Ritual cursing” in Lanka involves the smashing of coconuts in select Hindu shrines called “Devales” and a closed door session with a sorcerer who recites “poisonous verses.”
The Joint Opposition Group (JOG) in parliament, which Rajapaksa heads, smashed 100,000 coconuts at the Seenigama Devale on February 6 with the media present. The mass smashing of nuts was led by MPs Dinesh Gunawardene, Bandula Gunawardene and C B Ratnayake. However, some claimed that the deity of the shrine, Davol Deviyo, was angry, because the coconuts had been looted from plantations.
To undo the moral damage and keep up the tempo, a group of Rajapaksa loyalists led by Bandula Gunawardene smashed coconuts at the Ammaduwa Kudakataragama devale in Ratnapura district on February 13. Seven days later, Bandula Gunwardene, along with MPs Salinda Dissanayake and Kumara Welgama, smashed coconuts at Aiyanayake devale at Singakkuliya in Kurunegala district.
Although Rajapaksa got no legal relief, his March 17 rally at Colombo was a resounding success. His pugnacious speech was a shot in the arm for his demoralized followers.