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  4. Sri Lanka’s ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa protected at Trincomalee naval base amid protests in country

Sri Lanka’s ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa protected at Trincomalee naval base amid protests in country

Mahinda Rajapaksa, known for his brutal military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during his presidency from 2005 to 2015, is also facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians.

Poorva Joshi Edited by: Poorva Joshi @poorvajoshi1424 Colombo Updated on: May 11, 2022 16:12 IST
sri lanka crisis, sri lanka economic crisis
Image Source : PTI

Colombo: A Sri Lankan man holds a national flag as police officers conduct investigations into aftermath of clashes between government supporters and anti government protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. 

Highlights

  • Former Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa is under protection at the Trincomalee naval base.
  • He is facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians.
  • There are allegations against him for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protestors.

Sri Lanka economic crisis: As Sri Lanka battles with an economic crisis and widespread protests, former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa is under protection at the Trincomalee naval base, informed Defence Secretary Kamal Guneratne on Wednesday. Rajapaksa had to tender his resignation on Monday owing to protests against him. Soon after his resignation, the island nation saw unprecedented mob violence. 

The 76-year-old Sri Lanka People's Party (SLPP) leader, known for his brutal military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during his presidency from 2005 to 2015, is also facing calls for his arrest from Opposition politicians.

There are allegations against Rajapksa for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protesters who were seeking his resignation as well as that of his elder brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for mismanaging the country's economy.

“He (Mahinda Rajapaksa) was evacuated to the Trincomalee naval dockyard,” Guneratne told reporters in an online briefing. Trincomalee is a port city on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka.

Rajapaksa resigned hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy Army troops in the capital. The attack triggered widespread violence against pro-Rajapaksa politicians.

At least 8 people have died while over 250 people injured in the clashes which also saw scores of properties belonging to ruling party politicians being set on fire.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, who served as the country’s prime minister thrice, saw his residence set on fire on Monday. He was evacuated to the naval base after a series of attacks on his supporters left at least eight people dead. Mahinda Rajapaksa, along with his wife and family, fled his official residence - Temple Trees - and took shelter at the naval base in Trincomalee.

A curfew is in force across the island nation after mobs burned down the ancestral home belonging to the ruling Rajapaksa family amid mounting anger for their mishandling of the economy, leading to the island nation's worst economic crisis.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

(With PTI Inputs)

Also Read: India 'categorically' denies reports of sending troops to Sri Lanka

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