Namal Rajapaksa MP today said his younger brother’s attack to a Rugby referee ‘was a misunderstanding’. Namal Rajapaksa’s response came as a reply to a tweet sent to him by another tweeter user Zaman Alfeoz. Zaman asked “@RajapaksaNamal, did your younger brother Rohitha Rajapaksa attack the refree at 7 a side game… is it true?”
Presidential offspring Rohitha Rajapaksa assaulted Rugby referee Dimitri Gunasekera on May 05th at the Havelocks Grounds in Colombo after the Navy lost a qualifying match
The incident took place when the Police A team defeated Navy knocking the latter out of the Inter-club Rugby sevens tournament organised by the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union.
Following the Navy defeat, Rohitha Rajapaksa picked up referee Gunesekera by the collar and assaulted him in full public view, eyewitnesses say. The attack on the referee only ceased when Yoshitha Rajapaksaintervened, even slapping his younger sibling when the latter refused to break up the altercation.
With referees refusing to stand to protest against the assault, the tournament was suspended for over 45 minutes. Finally, following a meeting of high level officials with the referees the tournament resumed. Both Rohitha and Yoshitha Rajapaksa were seen regularly in discussions with the referees during the rest of the evening.
The game of Rugby in the country has been severely politicised by the Rajapaksa family in recent years.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second son Yoshitha is the captain of the Sri Lanka Rugby team and the Navy Sports club.