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In Sri Lanka, Rajapaksa declares a state of emergency and imposes harsh laws

By wasmulhaq 
Updated Date

Protests in Sri Lanka have been intensifying.It has spread to several towns besides Colombo. People have come out on the streets against the economic crisis and skyrocketing inflation in the South Asian nation.

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With the gripping protest, Sri Lanka’s President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, announced a state of emergency declaration with effect from April 1, 2022. The emergency was declared due to mounting protests that took place in front of the President’s residence in Colombo.

In the latest development, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa not only declared an emergency following the violent protests against him over the economic crisis, but the President is looking quite aggressive and has invoked harsh laws.

He has given permission to the military men to arrest and detain suspects for a long period of time without any trial. The demonstrators were demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation.

The police used force to disperse the crowd and arrested many people. Several persons were injured during the protest. The crisis in the island nation has come at a time when an intense fight is in progress between Russia and Ukraine. This war has further deteriorated the economic position of Sri Lanka.

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Emergency and President’s power

Under the emergency regulations, the president has the power to issue a detention order, along with taking possession of any property and ordering a search of any premises. He has full authority to change or suspend any law.

Meanwhile, senior DIG Ajith Rohana said a police curfew was imposed within the Western Province from midnight to 6 am Saturday, as per reports. There are also calls for an island-wide public protest on Sunday.

On Thursday night, a huge number of protesters had a skirmish with police. The clash continued for many hours, during which several people and police sustained injuries. A severe shortage of foreign currency has created trouble for Rajapaksa’s government in importing necessary items like fuel. Power cuts in the country can last up to 13 hours.

Excerpts from the developments taking place in Sri Lanka

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  • A large number of people were arrested following the protest over the sluggish economy and high inflation in the country.
  • At least 53 people were arrested following the protests on Thursday night outside the Sri Lankan president’s residence. They were demanding his resignation as the country is passing through one of the worst economic slumps, police said on Friday.
  • As per the local media, 15 of them were granted bail by the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court. On security bail, Magistrate Prasanna Alwis ordered them to be released. The Magistrate is looking into the cases of six more suspects who are getting treatment in hospitals.
  • The Sri Lankan government on Friday termed the violent demonstration near Rajapaksa’s residence as “an act of terrorism” and blamed “extremist elements.” The incident is linked to opposition parties.
  • Protests near the president’s residence are an “act of terrorism,” says the Sri Lankan government.
  • Many of those involved in the incident have been arrested and many have been found to have been organised extremists, “it added.
  • Officials said security had been beefed up all over the country as a precautionary measure. Social media is widely used to demonstrate peacefully outside their respective homes.
  • The latest official data released on Friday showed inflation in Colombo hit 18.7% in March, the sixth consecutive monthly record. Food prices soared by a record 30.1%. The nation’s January trade deficit stood at $859 million.
  • Sri Lanka’s central bank issued a statement on Friday saying that the country’s January trade deficit stood at $859 million.
  • Sri Lanka is facing a debt of $4 billion while it has only $2.31 billion in reserves.
  • Among the major lenders are the Asian Development Bank, Japan, and China.

Sri Lanka inked a $1 billion credit line with India for importing necessary items.

On the humanitarian front, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow him to help Sri Lankan Tamils on humanitarian grounds.

Wasim Haque

 

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