Sri Lanka crisis: PM Mahinda Rajapaksa resigns; ruling party MP, PSO killed; houses of lawmakers set on fire - all you need to know

Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948

FPJ Web DeskUpdated:Monday, May 09, 2022, 07:52 PM IST
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Demonstrators and government supporters clash outside the official residence of Sri Lankas Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in Colombo on May 9, 2022. | (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday amid unprecedented economic turmoil, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office, leaving at least 130 people injured and prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy army troops in the capital.

Prime Minister Mahinda sent his resignation letter to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa after violent scenes were witnessed in Colombo.

"Effective immediately I have tendered my resignation as Prime Minister to the President," Mahinda tweeted.

Prime Minister Mahinda in his resignation letter said that he is stepping down to pave way for the All-Party Interim Government to be formed.

"I write to inform (you) that I have decided to resign from the post of prime minister with immediate effect. This is in line with your request made at the special cabinet meeting held on May 6, wherein you said that you intend to set up an all party interim government," he wrote in his resignation letter.

He said that he will be "ready to make any sacrifice even in the future in order to help the people and the government overcome the present crisis."

Ruling party MP, PSO killed in violence

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala and his personal security officer were killed in the clashes.

The lawmaker was surrounded by anti-government groups at the north western town of Nittambuwa, the police said.

The people said that gunfire came from his SUV, and when the angry mobs toppled the car, he fled and took refuge in a building and committed suicide by pulling his own revolver.

By the time he killed himself, thousands of people had surrounded the building.

Later, the lawmaker and his personal security officer were found dead, the police said.

Houses of Sri Lanka MP, former minister set on fire

The houses of Sri Lankan MP Sanath Nishantha and a former minister Johnson Fernando were attacked by the protesters and set on fire today as anti and pro-government protesters clashed in the country amid a nationwide curfew.

Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 seeking resignation of President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.

(With PTI inputs)

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