Neighbourhood First: India says it supports democracy, stability and economic recovery in Sri Lanka
Despite imposition of nationwide curfew, deployment of troops in Colombo and Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning from his prime ministerial chair, public anger against the ruling elites has not subsided in Sri Lanka
With Sri Lanka’s economic crisis snowballing into a countrywide protests and angry citizens not satisfied with PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s resignation, resorting to arson and violence in the island nation, India on Tuesday said “It is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.”
“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Arindam Bagchi said in response to media queries on developments in Sri Lanka.
“In keeping with our ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India 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 and medicine,” the MEA Spokesperson said.
In Sri Lanka, despite curfew being imposed across the country and Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning from the prime ministerial chair, public anger against the ruling elites has not subsided.
On Monday, mobs burned down homes belonging to the Rajapaksa family and several other politicians. As per media reports, more than 50 houses of politicians were burned down overnight.
If media reports are to be believed, Sri Lanka’s ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family had to take shelter at a naval base in Trincomalee in the North-East part of the country to escape the public fury over food and economic crisis in the country.
“Crowds besieged Mahinda Rajapaksa’s residence and tried to storm it--he was evacuated to safety in a pre-dawn operation amid tear gas and warning shots,” BBC news said in its report.
Even President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s home was not spared. Mobs attacked a museum about the Rajapaksas in the ruling family's ancestral village of Meda Mulana in the deep south of the island and razed it to the ground, police said.
Two wax statues of the Rajapaksa parents were flattened and mobs trashed the building as well as the nearby ancestral Rajapaksa home. A political office of the Rajapaksas in the north-western town of Kurunegala was also destroyed in an arson attack.
Across Colombo, tension remained high. As per BBC, men armed with sticks and rods established roadblocks on the routes leading to and from the airport, and police and security forces, usually a common sight in the area, were nowhere to be seen.
Since April, Sri Lanka has been gripped by demonstrations over soaring food prices and power cuts.