Sri Lanka crisis worsens: 1 dead, 2 injured after guard of sacked minister opens fire

Sri Lanka crisis turns violent: When Ranatunga, who is considered to be a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, entered the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) building, the supporters of the new prime minister Rajapaksa shouted slogans against him and objected to the cricketer-turned-politician presence at the office.

Sri Lanka crisis worsens: 1 dead, 3  injured in after guard of sacked minister Arjuna Ranatunga opens fire
Sri Lankan soldier keep watching outside the ceylon petroleum corporation in Colombo. Photo: AFP
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 28 Oct 2018 10:07 PM
COLOMBO: The political crises in Sri Lanka took an ugly turn on Sunday when bodyguards of Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga fired live rounds at the supporters of the new premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, leaving one person dead and two injured. When Ranatunga, who is considered to be a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and served as Petroleum minister under him, entered the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) building, the supporters of the new prime minister Rajapaksa shouted slogans against him. They also objected to the cricketer-turned-politician presence at the office.

When they were not allowed to move out, shots were fired which injured three persons. One person later succumbed to his injuries. According to AFP, Ranatunga's bodyguards fired live rounds at a mob loyal to a Sirisena after the group tried to take him hostage. Unconfirmed reports said that two of Ranatunga's security personnel have been arrested. Ranatunga is a supporter of Wickremesinghe who was sacked by President Maithripala Sirisena. Wickremesinghe, however, termed his sacking as illegal and unconstitutional.


Sirisena on Friday night sacked Wickremesinghe and appointed former President Rajapaksa to the post. He made the surprising move after his United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) withdrew from the national coalition government. Next day, Sirisena suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority. A new caretaker government is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Sri Lankan Parliament's speaker recognised Ranil Wickremesinghe as the country's prime minister, three days after his sacking by  Sirisena threw the country into chaos. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said Wickremesinghe has "obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance" even as he questioned the president's decision to suspend parliament.

In a letter to Sirisena, Jayasuriya asked the president to restore Wickremesinghe's privileges as the leader of the government who has "obtained a mandate to secure democracy and good governance". Raising questions on the president's decision to suspend parliament till November 16, the speaker said it will have "serious and undesirable" consequences on the country.

Jayasuriya said a prorogation of parliament should be one in consultation with the speaker.

"In this context continuing the prorogation of parliament until November 16 will have serious and undesirable consequences for our country and I kindly request you to reconsider same. I consider it is my duty to draw your attention to the convention that a prorogation should be one in consultation with the speaker," Jayasuriya said.

Jayasuriya reminded Sirisena of certain forcible takeovers of state institutions since Rajapaksa was named Wickremesinghe's successor by the president.

Hope democratic values would be respected: India Sri Lanka political crisis

India said it was closely following the political developments in Sri Lanka and hoped that democratic values and constitutional process would be respected in the island nation. "India is closely following the recent political developments in Sri Lanka. As a democracy and a close friendly neighbour, we hope that democratic values and constitutional process will be respected," External Affairs Ministry Spokeperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He said India will continue to extend its developmental assistance to the friendly people of Sri Lanka. India has been involved in a number of projects in the island nation.

(With inputs from agencies)

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