Sri Lanka crisis: Former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa questioned by CID over May 9 violence

Over 200 people were injured in the protests in Colombo and other cities



Agencies file
Agencies file

By PTI

Published: Thu 26 May 2022, 11:19 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 May 2022, 11:20 AM

The Sri Lankan police have questioned former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and recorded a 3-hour-long statement over the violent clashes between his supporters and anti-government protesters in the crisis-hit country that killed at least 10 people and injured over 200 others, according to a media report on Thursday.

On May 9, violence erupted in Sri Lanka after supporters of the 76-year-old former premier attacked peaceful anti-government protesters demanding his ouster over the country’s worst economic crisis that led to acute shortages of staple food, fuel and power.

Over 200 people have also been injured in the violence in Colombo and other cities.

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has recorded a statement from Mahinda on Wednesday over May 9 incidents at Kollupitiya and Galle Face Green, the official residence of the Sri Lankan prime minister, the Daily Mirror website reported.

Police said the CID recorded a nearly three-hour-long statement from the former Prime Minister last evening at his residence in Colombo, the report added.

On May 23, a top bureaucrat of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Security who is in charge of the police department resigned over his failure to curb the violent clashes.

Last week, Sri Lanka’s CID also quizzed three members of the ruling SLPP parliamentary group over their alleged involvement in the clashes.

Two of their colleagues who were arrested previously have been remanded in custody till May 25.

On Friday, Namal Rajapaksa, a former minister and the son of Mahinda Rajapaksa was summoned and his statement was recorded.

Members of the ruling coalition government blamed Opposition party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna for instigating the violence on May 9, which was vehemently denied by the Marxist party.

The mob destroyed several tents and other structures erected at Galle Face and also attacked some of the demonstrators.

The violence saw arson attacks on the homes of several politicians, including the ancestral home of the Rajapaksas in Hambantota.

The properties of some 78 government parliamentarians faced arson in the ensuing attacks.

Sri Lanka has been witnessing large-scale protests against the government’s handling of the debt-ridden economy — the worst-ever economic crisis in the country’s history.

The country of 22 million is grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948.

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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.


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