Backlash over Sri Lanka TV anchor justifying New Zealand massacre

COLOMBO – An anchor for a television station in Sri Lanka has attempted to justify the massacre of 49 people in New Zealand by saying that it was "retribution" for exporting "poison" tainted milk powder to Sri Lanka.

The social media posts of , Derana TV anchor Chapa Chapabandara on Facebook and Twitter has provoked angry reactions, including calls on the owners of his network to take him off the air for his offensive remarks.

"Dangerous shooting in New Zealand! They must be thinking they can feed us poison and live in fun! Huh… CHAPA, March 15, 2019" said his post on Facebook.

He reposted it on Twitter too.

Within a short period of time, thousands commented on what many said was the “insensitive” post of the Derana TV anchor while a minority of Facebook users agreed with Chapabandara and cheered him on. 

Many expressed shock and disgust at Chapabandara’s framing of the New Zealand massacre as “retribution” for “poisoned” milk powder exports. 

Former Central Bank deputy governor W. A. Wijewardena said the Derana TV personality’s comments were totally unacceptable.

“Disgusting, but you can’t expect anything different from such half-educated people; if one goes by the same reasoning, SL was subject to all those terrorist attacks may be due to some past sins!,” Wijewardena said on Twitter.

Chapabandara responded with a lengthy video clip trying to further justify his comments by saying New Zealand was sending tainted milk powder to Sri Lanka.

An Australian white supremacist has been arrested for the gunning down of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch and wounding over 30 others in the worst incident of gun violence in the country on Friday.

(Colombo/Mar16/2019-SB)