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  4. Sri Lanka crisis: Basil Rajapaksa attempts to flee country; deboarded after protest onboard Dubai flight

Sri Lanka crisis: Basil Rajapaksa attempts to flee country; deboarded after protest onboard Dubai flight

Sri Lanka crisis: The development comes a day after Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena clarified that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still in the country, soon after reports emerged that the President has left the island nation.

Vani Mehrotra Edited By: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra New Delhi Updated on: July 12, 2022 12:26 IST

Highlights

  • Rajapaksa was obstructed by the airport immigration officials, the local media reported
  • Earlier, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa was said to have fled the country
  • Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948

Sri Lanka crisis: Former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa, who is the youngest brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was stopped from boarding a flight to Dubai on Monday evening. According to the local media, Basil reportedly attempted to leave Sri Lanka amid the ongoing economic crisis in the country. 

He was, however, obstructed by the airport immigration officials, who refused to let him leave the country following protests by passengers. 

Upon immigration officials' refusal, Basil had to return without being able to proceed, the report added.

The development comes a day after Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena clarified that Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still in the country, soon after reports emerged that the President has left the island nation.

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, who announced his resignation on Saturday, was earlier said to have fled the country.

"President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still in the country, I made a mistake in the (BBC) interview," Speaker Abeywardena clarified.

When asked further about the whereabouts of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan President, the speaker said that both of them are still in the country.

Sri Lanka crisis: Crowds gather at presidential palace

Thousands of protestors stormed into the President's House in Fort on Saturday. Dramatic visuals from PM's official residence showed crowds playing carrom board, sleeping on the sofa, enjoying in park premises and preparing food for dinner.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also announced to step down from his posts amid the ongoing protests. However, the protesters who have occupied the residences of the President and Prime Minister have cleared that they will continue to occupy their houses until they resign from their posts.

The worsening economic situation in the country has led to increasing tensions and over the last few weeks. 

There were reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued for hours and sometimes days.

Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development progress.

The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice. Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages.

The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty - some for the first time - adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic. 

(With inputs from ANI)

Also Read | Sri Lanka crisis: United Nations calls for dialogue to ensure smooth government transition

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