||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (January 2013)|
|Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Hambantota District
|Born||10 April 1986|
|Political party||Sri Lanka Freedom Party|
|United People's Freedom Alliance|
|Relations||Mahinda Rajapaksa (Father)
Shiranthi Rajapaksa (Mother)
|Alma mater||St. Thomas' College
City University London
Sri Lanka Law College
Lakshman Namal Rajapaksa (Sinhalese: ලක්ශ්මන් නාමල් රාජපක්ෂ; born 10 April 1986; known as Namal Rajapaksa) is a son of Sri Lankan former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and a member of parliament. It was widely believed that Rajapaksa was to be groomed to succeed his father.
Early life and family
Rajapaksa was born on 10 April 1986. He is the son of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Shiranthi Rajapaksa. He has two younger brothers – Yoshitha and Rohitha. His paternal grandfather D. A. Rajapaksa was a member of parliament and Minister of Agriculture and Land in Wijeyananda Dahanayake's government.
Rajapaksa was educated at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia, where he captained the school's 1st XV rugby team. After school Rajapaksa joined Cardiff University to study law. He then went to City University London from where he graduated in September 2009 with a third-class degree law degree.
Rajapaksa then joined Sri Lanka Law College to qualify as an attorney at law. He sat the college's preliminary exam in October 2009 and passed with second class honours. It was alleged that Rajapaksa sat the exam in a special cubicle that was set aside for him and the college's principal accompanied him.
Final exams controversy
In December 2010, several media sources reported that Rajapaksa had allegedly received special treatment during his final examination at Sri Lanka Law College. A fellow law student, Thushara Jayarathna, alleged that Rajapaksa had been given a separate room along with an internet enabled computer, later filing a complaint with the Law College examination system, Keselwaththa police station and the Supreme Court.
Media and NGO sources reports that Jayarathna's complaints were largely ignored or rejected, although he appeared before the college authorities early in January 2011. After the incident, sources reported that Jayarathna had been allegedly abducted and beaten up by the police, and that he also received multiple death threats traced to the police and the college.
According to the principal of the college, an investigation had been held but it concluded that the allegations "were based on hearsay" and "unfounded". Although the official investigation didn't find anything irregular, the threats against Jayarathna have not been investigated. The Colombo Telegraph reported that the consequences of Jayarathna's reporting wasn't unusual and that he is one of several others who have been harassed or persecuted after filing complaints against the ruling family or the police. Chief Justice Asoka de Silva also questioned the investigation, saying "We have only one Law College in Sri Lanka. If there are suspicions over its credibility, it will affect the whole profession."
Rajapaksa played rugby for St Thomas College representing the school in all age groups - under 9s, 13s, 15s and 17s. In 2000 he led the Sri Lanka national under 16 team. Rajapaksa first played for the school's senior team in 2002 and captained the 1st XV team in 2005. He also led the Sri Lanka under 19 team in 2004.
When he joined Cardiff University he played in the university's rugby team from 2005 to 2006. He also played for City University London from 2006 to 2009. In 2009 he first played for the Navy SC, who he captained in 2010-11. In 2010 Rajapaksa was invited to play for the Sri Lanka national rugby union team and in 2013 was appointed the team's captain, a position he retained until he retired from competitive rugby in July 2014.
Rajapaksa contested the 2010 parliamentary election as one of the United People's Freedom Alliance's candidates in Hambantota District and was elected to Parliament. Rajapaksa's father was an MP for Hambantota District for 16 years before becoming president in 2005. It is widely believed that Rajapaksa is being groomed to succeed his father. Rajapaksa is often seen at state events and is the chief guests at ceremonies inaugurating new roads, bridges, schools and other government buildings. Although Rajapaksa holds no government position, he has made numerous official foreign trips, sometimes accompanying his father. In January 2011 Rajapaksa led a parliamentary delegation to Libya and met with Muammar Gaddafi. Rajapaksa has also made official trips to United Nations Headquarters (September 2010), Nepal (March 2011), Palestine (February 2012), Japan (March 2012), South Korea (April 2012), US (May 2012), China (May 2013) and Australia (June 2013). Rajapaksa also led Hambantota's unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Rajapaksa was a key figure of his father's unsuccessful 2015 presidential campaign. He was accused by many for his father's downfall and the misuse of public funds.
Carlton Sports Network, a sports, lifestyles and business television channel, is owned by Rajapaksa and his brother Yoshitha. Rajapaksa was a shareholder in Ascot Holdings PLC – as at 30 September 2011 he owned 92,000 shares (1.15%) in the company. Sri Lanka's new government in 2015 has slapped a one-time tax of Rs 1 billion on the only sports television channel in the country, which is part-owned by Namal Rajapaksa, saying that the sports channel has not paid a single penny to the government, since its inception. It has been alleged that CSN was favoured by the Rajapaksa regime which awarded it the exclusive broadcast rights of several sports fixtures including cricket.Cricket broadcast rights had been the monopoly of state TV Rupavahini until the advent of CSN.The Rajapaksa government headed by Namal's father had transferred the sports broadcast rights to CSN by a cabinet decision with no open tender or any known competitive bidding process. After Rajapaksa's defeat in this month's presidential election, the new government of President Maithripala Sirisena launched a probe into the rights deal.
Rajapaksa and his brother Yoshitha started Tharunyata Hetak (A Tomorrow for Youth), a youth organisation, in 2005. Rajapaksa is chairman of Tharunyata Hetak, Yoshitha is vice-chairman. According to Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) Tharunyata Hetak spent Rs. 172 million promoting Rajapaksa's father and his party during the 2010 presidential and parliamentary elections. Tharunyata Hetak receives significant funding from public bodies including the Bank of Ceylon and National Lotteries Board both of which are under the control of Rajapaksa's father.
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