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People’s fury burns down ministers’ houses, vehicles as violence engulfs Colombo

Violence engulfs Sri Lanka (Photo: Pradeep Pathirana/IANS)

Anger took over Colombo as people mounted attacks on supporters and ministers of the Rajapaksa government in retaliatory violence on Monday. At least three people were reported killed and nearly 150 injured in violence.

In mounting fury, thousands of people took over the streets and attacked supporters of the powerful Rajapaksa family–President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. People had been protesting against the government over its inability to control the runaway prices of food, the shortages of fuel and massive power cuts.

Army was deployed in the capital as people defied the curfew and violence flared up. The police opened fire near Temple Trees–the area that houses the residence of Prime Minister Mahinda. Earlier during the day, Prime Minister Mahinda had tendered his resignation.

Read More: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns amidst violence, curfew in Sri Lanka

A large number of vehicles belonging to the Rajapaksa family and their supporters were set afire across the capital.

Amarakeerthi Athukorala, Member of Parliament from the ruling SLPP party died in the violence.

People set fire to former minister Johnston Fernando's residence in Mount Lavinia.

Colombo mayor, Saman Lal Fernando's house in Moratuwa was set on fire.

The house of Member of Parliament Sanath Nishantha was burnt.

State Minister Shantha Bandara's house was set on fire. 

Reportedly, former education minister Ramesh Pathirana’s house in Galle too was set on fire.

People erupted in fury after President Rajapaksa's supporters attacked anti-government protestors who had been camping outside the president's office since early April. Government supporters attacked the anti-government protestors who had occupied public space at Galle Face sea front and in front of the president's office. They also set fire to the 'Gota go home' village that had come up at Galle Face.

A source told India Narrative that if the violence spreads from central Colombo to other parts of the country, the army may have to be deployed for preventive measures. He added that even though Prime Minister Mahinda had resigned, it is unlikely that he will lie low and give up power.

The situtation in Sri Lanka does not augur well for India as the two nations have close people-to-people links and cultural ties. India has been supporting is island neighbour with financial and food aid since early this year. The two nations have also been promoting mutual tourism due to the strong civilisational connect.

Read More: With billions of dollars, India's Neighbourhood First policy comes to the aid of South Asia