Sri Lanka scraps Tamil national anthem at Independence Day

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (AP) — Sri Lanka’s new government declined to sing the national anthem in Tamil, the country’s second national language, during the island’s Independence Day celebrations yesterday, a departure from the previous government which sang the anthem in the country’s two primary languages to promote ethnic harmony in the aftermath of a decades-long civil war.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected last year. Rajapaksa was a top defence official in the civil war and played a major role in defeating the rebel Tamil Tigers. Many ethnic Tamil civilians were killed or went missing in the war.

The country’s 72nd anniversary of independence from Britain was celebrated in Colombo with military parades and air shows.