English News


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

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa (Photo: @PresRajapaksa/Twitter)

Embattled Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday amid clashes between pro and anti-government supporters. Reportedly, a ruling party MP also was killed during the clashes in capital Colombo.

Curfew was imposed nation-wide due to the violence which boiled over due to simmering discontent over inflation, food shortages and long queues for fuel.

Prime Minister Mahinda handed over his resignation letter to brother-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror reported that the Prime Minister's resignation is now likely to lead to the formation of an all-party cabinet.

Separately, violence broke out on Monday after President Rajapaksa's supporters allegedly attacked protestors, who have been camping outside the president's office since early April. The protestors have continuously occupied the space at Galle Face sea front and also in front of the president's office for nearly a month now. The attackers broke the tents of the anti-government protestors.

Sri Lanka's trade unions too have been on strike, asking the Rajapaksa brothers to step down.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa appealed to the people to calm down. He said: "While emotions are running high in #lka, I urge our general public to exercise restraint & remember that violence only begets violence. The economic crisis we're in needs an economic solution which this administration is committed to resolving".

News had come out last week that President Gotabaya will ask his brother Prime Minister Mahinda to step down, which would lead to the formation of a new government to handle the nation's unprecedented crisis.

Sri Lanka had begun feeling the pinch of its low foreign exchange reserves late last year, even prompting a visit by the then Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa to visit New Delhi seeking financial assistance. He had met a slew of leaders in Delhi including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar.

India has been supporting the country since early this year through a $3 billion assistance of various kinds.