Mahinda Rajapaksa, a former strongman from Sri Lanka, made his first appearance in parliament on Wednesday as he was forced to resign as prime minister and take refuge in a high-security naval camp amid violent protests against the economic crisis.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, 76, who has served as the country’s three-time prime minister, saw a fire at his residence last week. He, along with his wife and family, fled his official residence – Temple Tris – and took refuge at the naval base at Trincomalee.
Mahinda resigned as prime minister last week, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, urging authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy troops in the capital.
The attack sparked widespread violence against pro-Rajapaksa politicians.
At least nine people died while more than 200 were hospitalized. About 58 government colleagues of Mahinda Rajapaksa witnessed the arson attack on their private property.
Mahinda Rajapaksa, an MP who was seen in Parliament, made her first appearance after the May 9 violence that forced her to resign and retreat to a naval camp in the eastern province, News First reported.
His son and former cabinet minister Namal Rajapaksa also attended the session.
Both Rajapaksa were significantly absent on Tuesday when a proposal to suspend a standing order to debate a motion of no-confidence against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was put to a vote, it said.
The movement was defeated.
On May 11, Defense Secretary General (retd) Kamal Gunaratne confirmed that former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had been temporarily transferred to the Trincomalee Navy Dockyard.
“She is OK. Once the situation returns to normal, he will be relocated to his preferred place of residence, ”he said.
He said the former prime minister would be protected as long as he lived, as every former president deserves security and protection.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.
The crisis is partly caused by a lack of foreign exchange, which means the country cannot afford to import major food and fuel, leading to sharp deficits and very high prices.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9 to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the government runs out of money for important imports.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)