Muralitharan breaks silence on ‘800’ controversy

Says ‘Never supported killing of innocent lives’


TAMIL NADU– Muttiah Muralitharan has spoken out about the controversy surrounding the release of his biopic ‘800’. The film, which recollects his journey from the turbulent times of war and chaos in Sri Lankan society to his legendary bowling status, the biopic traces Muttiah Muralitharan’s journey in style. The role will be essayed by Tamil superstar Vijay Sethupathi, famous for his roles in Aandavan Kaatalai and Sethupathi.  A tweet released by a journalist ,  a statement titled ‘From the Desk of Muthiah Muralidaran’, goes on to elaborate about his struggles.

In the letter which was carried on the The News Minute website, Muralitharan reveals that the reason this issue has become controversial is because of the misunderstandings that surround his statement that 2009 was the best year in his life. In that year, Sri Lanka’s Army eliminated the Liberation Tamil Tigers of Eelam (LTTE) in a brutal battle that saw thousands killed. The end result was the destruction of the LTTE and the death of V Prabhakaran.

“Isn’t it natural for someone to feel the relief when the war ends? I made that statement keeping in mind that for the past 10 years we have not had any loss of lives. I never supported the killing of innocent lives, I never will. According to me, Sinhalese, hill-country Tamils and Eelam Tamils are all the same. As a hill-country Tamil man, I have helped the Eelam Tamils more than I have my own people. It may not sound right to count all that one has done, but today I am forced to do that,” Muralitharan said.

In the letter, Muralitharan has outlined the travails of both Hill Country Tamils and Eelam Tamils. The Eelam Tamils are descendants from the old kingdom of Jaffna while the Hill Country Tamils are Indian-Tamil descendants of the bonded labourers who migrated to Sri Lanka during the 19th century to work in tea plantations. Muralitharan’s family started their life as tea plantation workers in the hills of Sri Lanka.

From all the riots of the 1970s in which Muralitharan lost his father to the full-fledged civil war that lasted for 26 years, the Sri Lanka offspinner understood the pains of war and he also said it was not his fault if he was born in Sri Lanka.

“When I was seven years old, my dad was hacked, my relatives were murdered, many times I have stood on the road without any livelihood. So I know the pain and the losses due to the war. Our life journey was along with the war that took place for 30 years. So the movie 800 is about how I became a part of the cricket team and achieved success amid these situations. There is a wrong opinion on me just because I played for the Sri Lankan team and won laurels. If I were born in India, I would have tried to be a part of the Indian team. Is it my fault having been born as a Sri Lankan Tamil?,” Muralitharan said.

Muttiah Muralitharan is the greatest bowler of all time, becoming the only bowler to reach 800 Test wickets while he is also the leading bowler in ODIs with 534 wickets. He and Shane Warne are the only bowlers to take over 1000 wickets combined in all formats of cricket.

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