Two years after the Easter Sunday attacks that left 269 dead and injured more than 500, Sri Lanka’s Christian community is still waiting for justice while its Muslim community is reeling from the backlash that followed the bombings. Recent government restrictions targeting Muslims have exacerbated religious tensions in the South Asian nation and risk alienating large portions of the community.
The Sri Lanka People's Front (SLPP) gained a parliamentary supermajority earlier this month in what was the first major election held in South Asia since the coronavirus pandemic began. The results solidified the political power of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who had dissolved the previous parliament shortly after he was elected last year. USIP’s Jumaina Siddiqui, Tamanna Salikuddin and Vikram Singh look at whether the polls were free and fair, what the landslide victory means for Sri Lanka as the country continues its recovery from civil war, and how the election impacts South Asia.
In South Asia, home to some of the world’s most densely populated nations, the COVID-19 pandemic has tightened its grip—causing infections to soar, battering economies, and plunging many into poverty. Governments have mostly struggled to cope.