Sri Lankan army says it will abide by constitution and not interfere with protests

The Sri Lankan military said on Saturday it would strictly abide by the Constitution and not resort to violence amid anti-government protests across the island nation against the worst economic crisis.

Referring to social media speculation that the military could be used by the government to launch a crackdown on the week-long protest near the presidential secretariat, the Sri Lankan military in a statement said that she would not resort to violence to quell the anti – government protests.

The troops, as everyone has witnessed over the past few days, have not interfered with these peaceful protesters or organizations in any way, nor have they acted against the interests of the state as disciplined members of an organization that has brought peace to this country through immense and priceless sacrifices, according to the statement.

The army also denied this speculation that it was currently undergoing training to attack and fight protesters.

Sri Lanka is currently in the grip of the worst economic crisis since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948.

The army’s statement comes after former army commander Sarath Fonseka said troops must not obey unlawful orders involving a crackdown on protesters.

Emphasizing that the army must rethink “before acting on illegal orders”, Fonseka, in an address to the army commander, General Shavendra Silva and to Kamal Gunaratne, a senior official of the Ministry of Defense, had said that the troops were not to obey any illegal order.

Fonseka, who was promoted to field marshal for commanding the army to victory over the LTTE in 2009, had both Silva and Gunaratne under him.

The nationwide anti-government protest entered its eighth day on Saturday, with protesters demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as well as the entire Rajapaksa family following the mishandling of the ongoing economic crisis that has brought the nation to a financial standstill.

The Colombo Stock Exchange will remain temporarily closed for a week from Monday to provide investors with the opportunity to have “greater clarity and understanding” of current economic conditions in crisis-ridden Sri Lanka, which would help them “take informed investment decisions,” he added. was announced on Saturday.

“The stock market will remain temporarily closed for a period of five business days from April 18, 2022,” the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) said in a statement.

With foreign exchange in short supply, a $500 million Indian credit line for fuel imports provided a lifeline for the island nation.

India recently announced a $1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to the country to tackle the economic crisis after a previous $500 billion line of credit. in February to help him buy petroleum products.

President Rajapaksa has defended his government’s actions, saying the currency crisis was not his fault and the economic downturn was largely due to the pandemic, the island nation’s tourism revenue and remittances decreasing incoming.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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