The 2023 Lanka Premier League (LPL) opening ceremony took an unexpected turn as popular singer Umara Sinhawansa faced backlash on social media for allegedly mispronouncing a key lyric while performing the National Anthem. The incident has sparked controversy and drawn the attention of Buddha Sasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister, Vidura Wickramanayake, who has warned of potential legal action against the singer.

The video of the mispronunciation circulated widely on various social media platforms, leading to a heated debate among citizens. Umara Sinhawansa, the renowned singer at the center of the controversy, has not yet issued a public statement regarding the incident. However, her mispronunciation has created mixed reactions from Sri Lankan citizens while some have supported her.

“No one can distort the National Anthem of any country as it represents the country’s identity and culture. Therefore, such incidents where the National Anthem is distorted can’t be condoned,” Minister Wickramanayake told to the Daily Mirror.

The Minister further emphasized the importance of respecting the traditional rendition of the National Anthem, stating, “A national anthem can’t be remixed or performed as rap music. Hence, the Ministry is contemplating taking action against the recent incident. In addition, we will also take steps to inform the relevant parties in this regard.”

Wickramanayake expressed his concern that such incidents could set a precedent for more inappropriate performances in the future. “There is a standard way of singing the National Anthem, and the standard version is available on YouTube. With this trend, I am not surprised if the National Anthem is performed while being naked in the future,” he added.