In Sri Lanka, under immense pressure to resign over the island’s catastrophic economic disaster, PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned.
Worst Economic Crisis in Sri Lanka
The terrible crisis in Sri Lanka led to no food for people, a lack of basic necessities such as fuel, rice, and sugar, no milk for babies, and depletion of all essential provisions, which has triggered protests across the Sri Lanka nation.
Mahinda Rajapaksa Forced To Resign
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was forced to resign as the South Asian country of 22 million inhabitants protested against him as the economic disaster is mainly attributed to economic mismanagement by the Rajapaksa government. . The Sri Lankans do not want another dynastic ruler but a completely new makeover.
Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on Monday he has resigned from office. “Effective immediately, I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President,” he tweeted.
Top Sri Lankan MP from Ruling Party Kills Himself
Sri Lanka ruling party MP was found dead after clashes over the economic crisis. The legislator, Amarakeerthi Athukorala, from Sri Lanka’s ruling party was found dead on Monday after a clash with anti-government protesters outside the capital Colombo. Dozens were wounded in violence elsewhere.
Athukorala reportedly opened fire and critically wounded two people blocking his car in Nittambuwa, and was later found dead after trying to take refuge in a nearby building. It was found out that he killed himself after shooting down a protester at the site of the clash.
Violence on Island, Rajapaksa Loyalists Earlier Attacked Unarmed Protesters
Before this, earlier in the day, the Sri Lankan police imposed a nationwide curfew after clashes broke out between rival political camps in Colombo, injuring at least 139 people, according to officials.
This happened even as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned amid the island nation’s worst economic crisis since independence that has led to widespread protests.
“The prime minister has sent his letter of resignation to the president,” an official said, declining to be named.
Meanwhile, the police fired tear gas and water cannons and declared an immediate curfew in Colombo which was later enlarged to include the entire South Asian island nation of 22 million people.
It is reported that around 78 injured people were hospitalized. Officials also reported that the army riot squad was called in to reinforce police. Soldiers have been deployed throughout the crisis to cover deliveries of fuel and other essentials but until now not to prevent clashes.
Many Rajapaksa loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the president’s office at the sea-front Galle Face promenade in downtown Colombo since April 9, AFP reporters said and this probably aggravated the situation further.
In fact, the carnage began after several thousand supporters of Mahinda Rajapaksa, brought in buses from rural areas, poured out of his nearby official residence and Rajapaksa had addressed some 3,000 supporters at his house and pledged he would “protect the interests of the nation.”
The supporters then initially pulled down tents of protesters in front of the prime minister’s Temple Trees residence and set fire to anti-government banners and placards.
They then marched to the nearby promenade and began eradicating other tents set up by the “Gota go home” campaign that demands the president step down.
“We were hit, the media were hit, women and children were hit,” one witness told AFP, requesting to be anonymous.
“Strongly condemn the violent acts taking place by those inciting & participating, irrespective of political allegiances. Violence won’t solve the current problems,” President Rajapaksa tweeted.
Opposition MP Sajith Premadasa tried to move into the area after the clashes, but he came under attack from a mob and his security staff bundled him into a car and drove off.
“The President should accept the responsibility for this violence instigated by the Prime Minister!,” Opposition MP Eran Wickramaratne tweeted. “You cannot chase us from standing with our people.”
The US ambassador to Sri Lanka condemned “the violence against peaceful protestors today, and call on the government to conduct a full investigation, including the arrest and prosecution of anyone who incited violence”.
However, he was under tremendous pressure to step down over Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis, which has triggered protests across the island nation, and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced on Monday he has resigned from office. “Effective immediately, I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President,” he tweeted.
Mahinda Rajapaksa served two terms each as the prime minister and President of Sri Lanka. Following the clashes, authorities clamped a nationwide curfew. Sri Lanka is already under a state of emergency for the second time this year.
What Led to the Economic Crisis
The 2019–2022 Sri Lankan economic crisis, presently affecting the island nation of Sri Lanka, is mainly attributed to economic mismanagement by its incumbent government. It has led to unparalleled levels of inflation, near-depletion of foreign exchange reserves, shortages of medical supplies, and price increases in basic commodities.
The crisis has been said to be caused by multiple compounding factors such as tax cuts, money creation, and a nationwide policy to shift to organic or biological farming.
The Easter bombings in 2019 had a negative impact on the economy and on tourism as Sri Lanka, the island’s main source of income came from tourism. On 21 April 2019, Easter Sunday, three churches in Sri Lanka and three luxury hotels in the commercial capital, Colombo, were targeted in a series of coordinated Islamist terrorist suicide bombings.
Later that day, there were smaller explosions at a housing complex in Dematagoda and a guest house in Dehiwala. A total of 269 people were killed, including at least 45 foreign nationals, three police officers, and eight bombers, and at least 500 were injured.
The church bombings were carried out during Easter services in Negombo, Batticaloa, and Colombo; the hotels that were bombed were the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand, Kingsbury, and Tropical Inn. According to the State Intelligence Service, a second wave of attacks was planned but was stopped as a consequence of government raids.
COVID-19 pandemic also led to the crisis. The subsequent economic hardships resulted in the public openly voicing their dissent, leading to one of the largest demonstrations in the island’s history: The 2022 Sri Lankan protests. Communal violence has also played its part in weakening the structure of the nation.
Sri Lanka had been reserved for sovereign default, as the remaining foreign reserves of US$1.9 billion as of March 2022 would not be sufficient to pay the country’s foreign debt obligations for 2022, with US$4 billion to be repaid.
An International Sovereign Bond repayment of US$1 billion is also due to be paid by the government in July 2022. According to Bloomberg, Sri Lanka has a total of US$8.6 billion in repayments due in 2022, including both local debt and foreign debt.
In April 2022 Sri Lanka announced that it is defaulting making it the first sovereign default in Sri Lankan history since gaining independence in 1948.
It is said that 52.25% of Sri Lankans voted for communalism, and this is what happened to them!