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Crisis in Sri Lanka: Violent protests to oust the rocky island nation of Rajapaksas; details here

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Sri Lanka has been rocked by violent protests against the ruling Rajapaksa family amid a deepening economic crisis. At least 200 people were injured while 8 people lost their lives due to violence in central Colombo. Violence erupted in Sri Lanka’s capital on Monday after supporters of ex-Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked anti-government protesters seeking to oust him from the worst economic situation since 1948. Months of shutdowns and blackouts of electricity have resulted in massive shortages of food, fuel, medicine and other essential supplies.

Meanwhile, India has extended support worth over $3.5 billion to help Sri Lanka overcome current challenges, in addition to providing assistance to alleviate shortages of essential items like food, medicine, among others.

Main developments in Sri Lanka so far

1. External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Arindam Bagchi said India “fully supports its democracy, stability and economic recovery”.

2. Sri Lanka has given emergency powers to its military and police apparatus to detain people without warrants after a day of clashes.

3. Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam has advised the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to conduct a thorough investigation into the instances of interference with people’s constitutional rights, the circumstances that led to such incidents and the commission resulting criminal offences, the PTI news agency reported.

4. The AG stated in a letter to the IGP that the Colombo incident triggered sporadic acts of violence of a serious nature involving people and their property across the country. He also advised the police chief to investigate the aftermath of the incidents.

5. Earlier today, the ancestral home of Rajapaksas at Hambantota in Sri Lanka was set on fire by anti-government protesters. Video footage showed the entire home of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at Medamulana in Hambantota town burning as protesters booed.

6. Mahinda’s house in Kurunegela was also burned down by protesters while a mob also destroyed DA Rajapaksa memorial which was built in memory of Mahinda and Gotabaya’s father. The homes of parliamentarians Tissa Kuttiarachch and Santha Nishantha were also set on fire.

7. Amarakeerthi Athukorala, a Sri Lankan MP for Podujana Perumana (SLPP) from Polonnaruwa district, was surrounded by anti-government groups in the northwestern town of Nittambuwa. According to eyewitnesses, shots were fired from his SUV. When mobs overcame his car, he fled and took refuge in an apartment building and killed himself using his own revolver.

8. Following reports of attacks on protesters in Sri Lanka, the World Bank expressed deep concern over the worsening situation. World Bank Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Faris H Hadad-Zervos, tweeted: “We are deeply concerned about the perpetration of violence in Sri Lanka. He added, “Officials are only hindering the country’s immediate economic recovery and making it even more difficult for development partners.”

9. The current economic crisis in Sri Lanka has also led to a massive devaluation of the currency and resulted in the recognition of an exceptional item of Rs 48.50 crore for foreign exchange loss arising from Causeway Paints’ foreign currency obligations in the consolidated financial results for the quarter and year ended. March, 31st.

10. The Colombo Stock Exchange declared Tuesday a public holiday due to settlement difficulties exacerbated by the current economic crisis. A CSE circular read: “The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has been advised that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will not operate today (10 May 2022).

11. Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on Monday amid economic turmoil in the country.

12. Rajapaksa said in his resignation letter, “Several stakeholders have indicated that the best solution to the current crisis is the formation of a multi-party caretaker government.” He added: “Therefore, I tendered my resignation so that the next steps can be taken in accordance with the Constitution.”

(With contributions from the agency)

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