Gotabaya Rajapaksa will get particular safety, bungalow from Sri Lanka govt

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oi-Madhuri Adnal

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Colombo, Sep 03: Sri Lanka’s former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been given particular safety and a state bungalow for lodging on his return right here from Thailand the place he fled amid months-long mass protests over the nation’s worst financial disaster, officers stated on Saturday.

Rajapaksa, 73, was accorded a heat welcome as he returned to Colombo from Thailand amid tight safety on late Friday. He was festooned with flowers by a welcoming celebration of ministers and politicians as he disembarked at Colombo’s Bandaranaike Worldwide Airport from Bangkok through Singapore.

File photo of Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The previous president wished to maneuver into his non-public residence at Mirihana in Colombo’s jap suburb of Nugegoda. Nonetheless, safety issues prevented him from going to his non-public residence the place he all the time lived even after changing into the president in 2019, officers stated.

After being welcomed by lawmakers of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) celebration, Rajapaksa left the airport in a motorcade closely guarded by armed troopers and was pushed to the luxurious Colombo residential space of Cinnamon Gardens the place a state-maintained bungalow was offered to him, they stated.

Rajapaksa will likely be dwelling in a state bungalow near Wijerama Mawatha space in Colombo whereas a big safety contingency will likely be deployed to keep up safety within the space, the Each day Mirror newspaper reported.

 Gotabaya Rajapaksa returns to Sri Lanka from Thailand Gotabaya Rajapaksa returns to Sri Lanka from Thailand

Former presidents are constitutionally assured a home, private safety and workers after they depart workplace.

Earlier, the obligation supervisor of the airport stated that the previous president arrived within the nation at round 11.30 PM on Friday aboard a Singapore Airways flight.

“He will not be involved in politics despite many of the party members expecting him to start politics again,” a supply from the ruling SLPP instructed EconomyNext web site after confirming Rajapaksa’s arrival.

“Many core party members are also against the former president coming into parliament using the national list. They do not want him to become the leader again. He has not committed any crimes. So, he has all the rights to return to the country and all privileges as the former president,” the report quoted the supply as saying.

Rajapaksa’s return is a delicate difficulty for the brand new authorities led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe which doesn’t need extra protests and might want to guarantee his safety.

”We aren’t against the return of Mr Rajapaksa. Any Sri Lankan citizen can return to the nation,” Father Jeewantha Peiris, a outstanding protest chief, instructed the BBC.

”Individuals got here to the streets due to the alleged corruption towards his authorities. We have no private enmity towards him,” Peiris stated.

The ousted chief, his spouse Loma Rajapaksa and two bodyguards left the nation on July 13 aboard an air drive aircraft sure for the Maldives, earlier than travelling to Singapore, the place he formally resigned a day later. He then flew to Thailand two weeks later.

The ousted president had been staying in Thailand on a short lived visa and flew again dwelling through Singapore. The ex-president travelled from Thailand to Singapore to take the flight as there are not any direct flights between Bangkok and Colombo, sources stated.

He fled Sri Lanka to the Maldives on a Sri Lanka Airforce aircraft after which proceeded to Singapore, from the place he despatched in his resignation on July 14.

Later, he flew to Thailand, in search of momentary shelter. Thailand had stated that Rajapaksa can keep within the nation for 90 days as a result of he’s nonetheless a diplomatic passport holder.

Nonetheless, Rajapaksa was not allowed to have interaction in political actions in Thailand. He was confined to a resort and surrounded by safety personnel.

Native media stories on August 19 quoted SLPP Common Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam as saying that his celebration had requested the president to facilitate the previous president’s return and “ensure security and necessary facilities”.

After Rajapaksa was ousted, Sri Lanka’s parliament elected then-Acting President and six-time former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe as the new Head of State. Wickremesinghe has a mandate to serve out the rest of Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in November 2024.

Rajapaksa, an ex-military officer, became president in November 2019.

The Rajapaksa family has dominated Sri Lankan politics for over two decades. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 76-year-old patriarch of the Rajapaksa family has been the country’s president and prime minister. Basil Rajapaksa, 71, was earlier finance minister. Chamal Rajapaksa, 79, was Minister of Irrigation and Speaker of the Parliament from 2010 to 2015. Namal Rajapaksa, the eldest son of Mahinda, was the Minister of Youth and Sports from 2020 to 2022.

Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is going through its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 which was triggered by a severe paucity of foreign exchange reserves.

The IMF on Thursday announced that it will provide Sri Lanka with a loan of about USD 2.9 billion over four years under a preliminary agreement to help the bankrupt island nation tide over its worst economic crisis and protect the livelihoods of the people.

The country is also expected to restructure its debt worth USD 29 billion, with Japan expected to coordinate with other creditor nations, including China on this issue.

In mid-April, Sri Lanka declared its international debt default due to the forex crisis. The country owes USD 51 billion in foreign debt, of which USD 28 billion must be paid by 2027.

There have been street protests in Sri Lanka against the government since early April due to its mishandling of the economic crisis.

A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas, and other essentials while power cuts and soaring food prices have heaped misery on the people.

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Story first revealed: Saturday, September 3, 2022, 15:20 [IST]

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