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The shameful victimisation of Sanath Jayasuriya over a sex-tape

The way, Sri Lanka is treating one of its best batsmen ever, is beyond shameful.

He has been cornered for an alleged sex-tape that has suddenly surfaced online after which he has been accused of revenge porn by his ex-wife.

This is absolutely not the way to treat any man and more so, a person who has been playing the game at the highest level and bringing laurels for his own country. Had this happened in any other country, there would have been a proper trial and hearing. Not to mention the fact that he would not be labelled a villain even before he was proven as one.

Sanath Jayasuriya, one of world’s greatest batsmen, has been accused of revenge porn and leaking a sex tape that features his ex-wife, actress Maleeka Sirisenage.

The video of that sex-tape has now been uploaded to all leading porn websites like PornHub and currently trending worldwide. The highest number of hits on the video is from, obviously, India.

Sanath Jayasuriya and his ex-wife Maleeka Sirisenage

Sanath Jayasuriya and his ex-wife Maleeka Sirisenage. Picture courtesy: News Nation, Sri Lanka

Maleeka is a former model and an actress and was the third wife of Sanath. She made her debut last month in a film called Super Six, which is about a bunch of cricket crazy friends. The hero of the film has some resemblance with Jayasuriya.

Sanath Jayasuriya married thrice. He first married AirLanka ground hostess Sumudu Karunanayak in the 1990s. Then he married Sandra De Silva, a former flight attendant of Sri Lankan Airlines in 2000. They have three children together, Savindi Jayasuriya, Yalindi Jayasuriya and Ranuka Jayasuriya. They got divorced in 2012.

Sanath Jayasuriya secretly married model Maleeka Sirisenage in 2012 when he was still married to Sandra. Yes, that is illegal in Sri Lanka.

The wedding was kept a secret because of his impending divorce.

They got married at a Buddhist Temple in Mt. Lavinia. Only a handful of guests were invited to the wedding.

All the guests present at the wedding were also invited to a lunch on Maleeka’s birthday that followed the wedding. [1]

They were together for probably two years and separated as Sanath’s international career as a cricketer ended around the same time.

Maleeka is now married to an influential media owner who also runs tabloids and gossip columns while Sanath is the chief of the national selectors of the Sri Lankan Cricket Board.

The alleged sex video was leaked around May 25, 2017 through WhatsApp groups which shows grainy images of a person who closely resembles the former legendary cricketer.

Here is a screen-grab of the video.

A screen grab alleged sex-tape which has now been released on all well-known porn sites

According to reports, the media owner (who happens to be Maleeka’s husband) has imposed a series of bans on his employees including snatching their mobile phone when this video surfaced in public for the first time and started making its rounds in WhatsApp groups.

However, since the face of the cricketer was not properly visible, the video was doubted as fake. But the authenticity came to light when Maleeka decided to go to the Srilanka Cyber Police claiming that she is a victim of revenge porn.

As per a statement given by her, Maleeka said, “This is revenge. He himself recorded it. This was filmed when we were lovers”.

The effect of the video has been disastrous for the ‘Master Blaster’ who was a scourge for most top international bowlers.

The Sri Lankan Cricket Board was swift to react and termed him as a ‘disgrace’ to the country. He has been removed as the chief of selectors and was denied a ticket to England for the just concluded Champions Trophy.

There are rumours doing the rounds that he has been asked to resign from the boardSanath was appointed as the head of the national selectors of the Sri Lankan cricket Board on April 27, 2016.

A cricket commentator friend of mine confirmed that Sanath has been suspended from all Board meetings and asked not to report to office.

The police case against him is currently in the investigations stage and all his electronic devices has been put under forensics to prove his guilt.

PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – MARCH 21: Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka celebrates his century during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 Group B match between Bangladesh and Sri lanka at the Queens Park Oval Cricket Ground on March 21, 2007 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The receiver of ‘Deshabandhu’ title from the Sri Lankan government (which is the third highest civilian honour in Sri Lanka) and a former minister under the Mahinda Rajapakshya government, is now hiding at an undisclosed location because he fears for his life. The man has no friends and none of his former colleagues have come forward to help him in this hour of crisis.

Amongst all the noise against him, here are some facts.

  1. Fact number one, Sanath Jayasuriya has not been proven guilty yet. He is being held guilty even before any evidence has been placed on record to prove his guilt.
  2. Fact two, the video is not recent and is almost seven years old (probably filmed in 2010) as per preliminary findings. The video was recorded when both of them were lovers (not even engaged) and Jayasuriya was in the last phase of his one-day career.
  3. Fact three, there is no evidence that it was recorded on Sanath’s phone. If one sees the video, there is clear evidence that it was consensual and even his former wife was helping him record it. In fact, it will not be wrong to say that she was providing the cues during the recording.
  4. Fact four, there has been no attempt made to understand Sanath’s part of the story. He might have to say something in his defence but no attempt has been made to hear him out.
  5. Fact five, there has been no attempt made to first establish that it was Jayasuriya in the video which is the first logical step. As some websites have pointed out that the man has resemblance with him but there is an iota of doubt there.

We must also not discount the fact that Maleeka and her husband are influential media personalities and have the ability to shape public discourse given their command over the media. Her husband is a veteran when it comes to dealing with gossip as churning out salacious gossip is also a part of his media business.

The main issue that is bothering his fans, is the motive. We all know that a crime is not committed without a motive. So what might be Sanath’s motive of distributing his own porn from his phone when both he and his ex wife are well settled in their careers? Also considering the fact that he is the chief of the narional selectors, would be put his career at risk like this? If somebody else has done it, is it fair to victimise him this way?

Has this video been leaked to blackmail one of the best cricketer of our times? Is it a ploy to malign him politically because he was a minister of a political party which got a bitter drubbing in the past general elections?

Yes, it is completely possible.

But the problem is, we are so busy in demonising the legendary cricketer and being an online lynch mob, that we have no hesitation in denying him his basic rights.


 

Footnotes

[1] Maleeka Sirisenage Wiki: All You Need to Know About Sanath Jayasuriya’s Third Wife

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