COLOMBO, April 12 (IANS): Amidst a week long unending protests against the government and other politicians mainly by youths, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday urged the protesters to stop the street fights and warned that it would have dangerous repercussions.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa addressing the nation, on all national television channels, said that the country’s history has dangerous lessons when demands were made on the entire parliament to step down rejecting the democratic system.
Referring to the rise of Tamil rebel movement, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), he said “bombing the parliament and killing the people’s representatives on road, the youth in the North in 1970s started a struggle demanding the parliamentarians to step down.”
“Every second you are protesting, we are losing dollars to the county,” he told the protestors who have now occupied the entrance to President’s office in the heart of Colombo and have put up tents and foods and drinks supplied by supporters from all over the country.
With rocketing inflation and dried up dollar reserves, the Indian ocean island is going through the worst economic crisis since independence with months longs queues for fuel, LP gas, milk powder and now lack of medicine which medical experts have described as a “medical emergency”.
Rajapaksa came on TV amidst the demand by protesters urging President Gotabaya, the younger brother of Mahinda, former Finance minister Basil and all Rajapaksas to step down claiming that they have looted the country.
The Prime Minister admitted that the country was falling over a precipice though his government was able to save her from Covid-19 pandemic. Rajapaska assured that he would stop the economic decline saying that his government working 24 hours.
However he accused the opposition for not joining hands to come out of the crisis despite invitation.
Rajapaksa said that certain loans from other countries had to be withdrawn in order to protect the sovereignty of the country.
“Even at a most difficult time, we tried to obtain loans from other countries while maintain the sovereignty. As a result we had to withdraw some opportunities to take loan.”
“The insults herald against me and my family members are enormours but we can bear them all,” he said.
He announced the decision to withdraw complete organic agriculture introduced by President Gotabaya and said chemical fertiliser subsidies would be provided to the farmers. The controversial decision lead to an agriculture disaster with famers could not yield expected harvest and leading to a food crisis where Sri Lanka was forced to import on loans.
On Monday India under its $ 1 billion credit line for essential commodities including food and medicine sent 40,000 MT of rice to Sri Lanka.