Gujarat Exclusive > National-World > Death toll in Sri Lanka violence rises to eight, ex-PM Rajapaksa flees to naval base

Death toll in Sri Lanka violence rises to eight, ex-PM Rajapaksa flees to naval base


Colombo: The death toll in the violent clashes in Sri Lanka, that erupted after supporters of former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa attacked anti-government protesters rose to eight on Tuesday, even as Rajapaksa and his family allegedly fled to a naval base.

The island nation, that has been struggling with an unprecedented economic crisis, deployed thousands of troops and police to enforce a curfew after the worst violence in decades that left over 200 injured in Colombo and other cities. The violence started when Rajapaksa’s supporters attacked protesters.

Within hours of Rajapaksa submitting his resignation to his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday, protesters attacked homes of several ruling party politicians despite the curfew. The ancestral home of the Rajapaksas was also set on fire.

The ex-PM and his family were rescued in the early hours of the day by the defence forces and flown in a helicopter to a naval base after a large number of protesters surrounded the PM’s official residence overnight. The police fired teargas and warning shots to keep the crowd at bay. Reports says the former PM and his family have taken shelter at a naval base in Trincomalee even as violent protests continue.

Separately, Sri Lanka’s main opposition party SJB Tuesday rejected President Rajapaksa’s offer to form an interim government under him, and is instead demanding his resignation.

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam said he had asked the police chief to conduct an urgent investigation into the violent clashes.

Former PM Rajapaksa is facing calls for arrest from opposition parties for inciting violence against peaceful anti-government protesters.



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