Sri Lanka’s continued fuel crisis has prompted India to extend another helping hand to the troubled island nation with an additional $500 million in financial aid.
Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry confirmed having received India’s assistance on Wednesday (April 20). Bangladesh too has shown its willingness to postpone $450 million in currency swap repayments to ease Colombo’s burden.
The $500 million aid is the second package given by India since the neighboring country spiraled into a never-before economic crisis. A few days back, India provided 120,000 tons of diesel and 40,000 tons of petrol.
Foreign Minister G L Peiris said the country is in need of such assistance badly given the International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance will take about six months more to come
. “During the intervening period, we need to find funds to keep our people supplied with essentials,” Peiris was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Sri Lanka’s embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday said they were saddened by the Rambukkana shooting that killed a person and injured 13 others as the international community expressed outrage over the use of force on unarmed anti-government protestors demonstrating against the latest fuel price hike.
At least three of the 13 hospitalised protesters at Rambukkana, some 90 kilometres northeast of Colombo, were critical at the Kegalle hospital, according to officials. Fifteen police personnel have also been injured.
This was the first death due to clashes during the ongoing anti-government protests. Earlier, a rap musician died of a heart attack while attending the protest.
Prime Minister Mahinda said he is “deeply distressed” over the Rambukkana violence and hoped for a strict and impartial investigation by the police.
The global community, including the UN, the US and the UK condemned the police action against the unarmed protesters and called for an investigation.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has appointed a three-member team to investigate the incident.
According to police chief Chandana Wickremaratne, the police curfew imposed in the area would continue.
“Protesters got violent yesterday and blocked the railway track. They were demanding fuel at the old price having waited in the fuel queue for a long time,” he said.