New Delhi: A day after Mahinda Rajapaksa quit as prime minister of Sri Lanka, there have been reports that the 76-year-old and his family members have fled to India. The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, however, on Tuesday (May 10, 2022) refuted as “fake and blatantly false” local social media speculation that the patriarch of the powerful Rajapaksa family has fled to India.

“The High Commission has recently noticed rumours circulating in sections of media and social media that certain political persons and their families have fled to India. These are fake and blatantly false reports, devoid of any truth or substance. The High Commission strongly denies them”, a statement said.

Mahinda, notably, resigned as prime minister amid unprecedented economic turmoil in Sri Lanka on Monday, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters. 

The whereabouts of Mahinda Rajapaksa is being speculated since his resignation on Monday and it was reported that he left his office-cum-official residence, Temple Trees, early Tuesday morning.

There were also reports that Mahinda had taken refuge at the Naval Base in the eastern port district of Trincomalee.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s top civil aviation official on Tuesday also rejected social media speculation and asserted that he was not involved in the “illegal transport and removal of any person or persons from Sri Lanka.”

Captain Themiya Abeywickrama, Director General and CEO of the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka, in a statement, described the social media reports as “false allegations”, the PTI news agency reported.

He asserted that he was not “linked with the illegal transport and removal of any person or persons from Sri Lanka.”

He also made it clear that he had not threatened any license holder/pilot by interfering in the legal performance of their flying duties.

India ‘fully supportive’ of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery

In its first reaction to the situation in Sri Lanka, India on Tuesday said that it is “fully supportive” of the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

“As a close neighbour of Sri Lanka, with historical ties, India is fully supportive of its democracy, stability and economic recovery,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” he added.

He also stated that in keeping with India’s “Neighbourhood First policy”, the country has extended this year alone support worth over US$ 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties. 

“In addition, the people of India have provided assistance for mitigating the shortages of essential items such as food, medicine etc,” Bagchi said.

Sri Lanka Defence Ministry orders tri-forces to open fire on rioters

Amidst violent protests in Sri Lanka over the unprecedented economic and political crisis, the island nation’s Ministry of Defence on Tuesday ordered the Army, the Air Force and the Navy personnel to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others.

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary-General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne warned if looting and property damage continues, the Ministry of Defence will be compelled to strictly enforce the law against the violators.

“I appeal young men and women to refrain from engaging in violence. Do not set fire to public and private property, and engage in your struggle in the democratic & peaceful manner,” he said.

The Defence Secretary warned that looters have taken the opportunity to commit crimes under the guise of peaceful protests, adding that it is a very unfortunate situation.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya urges people to stop ‘violence and acts of revenge’

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday urged people to stop “violence and acts of revenge” against fellow citizens and vowed to address the political and economic crisis facing the nation. 

“I appeal and urge people to remain calm & stop violence & acts of revenge against citizens, irrespective of political affiliations. All efforts will be made to restore political stability through consensus, within constitutional mandate & to resolve economic crisis,” President Gotabaya tweeted in his first comments since the outbreak of the violence that saw arson attacks on the homes of several former ministers and politicians.

A series of attacks on Mahinda Rajapaksa’s supporters has left at least eight people dead and nearly 250 people have been injured in the violence in Colombo and other parts of the country. 

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 at the worst economic crisis. Though Mahinda Rajapaksa has quit as prime minister, this has failed to bring calm. The protesters are demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya as well.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 against the crisis which is said to be caused in part by a lack of foreign currency. It has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel and has led to acute shortages and very high prices.

4 Edible flowers you can incorporate into your diet

Read More…