Those in power were already aware of the anger of the people. Sri Lanka has been in an unprecedented crisis for the past three months. Inflation and unemployment were skyrocketing. The country of just 1.25 billion people is mired in trillions of dollars of debt.
What is happening in Sri Lanka, which has never happened in any of our South Asian nations. The President and the Prime Minister have to flee and hide somewhere due to the fear of the people. Has this happened in any country of the Indian subcontinent? In many of our neighbors, military coups, internal uprisings and constitutional crises have led to a change of government, but in Sri Lanka thousands of people stormed the Rashtrapati Bhavan and set fire to the Prime Minister’s private residence. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had to announce their resignations.
The people of Sri Lanka, the people, the army and even the police released these leaders. Neither fired to save the burning house of the Prime Minister nor threw sticks at those throwing presidential shoes and trunks into the air. Thousands of these people gathered in and out of the capital Colombo. How did these people come about when there is a shortage of petrol in Sri Lanka and private vehicles cannot run? These people have walked dozens of miles to reach the Rashtrapati Bhavan. His anger was already known to those in power. Sri Lanka has been in an unprecedented crisis for the past three months. Inflation and unemployment were skyrocketing. The country of just 1.25 billion people is mired in trillions of dollars of debt.
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75% of people do not get enough food even on a daily basis. Those who survived fled in boats. The leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who became a Sri Lankan superhero because he was credited with eradicating Tamil terrorism, had to resign as Prime Minister on May 9 and now his brother Gotabaya has announced his resignation on July 13. In this government, five members of the Rajapaksa family were sitting in high positions and running a family dictatorship. Such a family dictatorship is not heard in any democratic country. He made many serious economic and political decisions without much deliberation. No one heeded the protesters’ warning. It also turned down warnings from international financial institutions. He changed the prime minister and also changed many ministers. But even this change did not work. What will it do even if there is an all-party government now? Sri Lanka needs tremendous financial support at this time. If India wants, it can adopt this neighboring country for a while in this hour of crisis. This country is equal to any small province of India. The Buddhists and Tamils of Sri Lanka will remember this favor on India for centuries.
-Doctor. Veda Pratap Vedic
(Dr. Vedic is the President of the Indian Council for Foreign Policy)