rajapaksa: Lanka’s rights body delays summoning ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksa over attacks on protesters


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka‘s top human rights body has decided to delay summoning former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and ask him to appear before it after obtaining statements from police and prison personnel in connection with the deadly attack on peaceful anti-government protesters last month, according to a media report on Wednesday.
On May 9, violence erupted in Sri Lanka after supporters of the 76-year-old former premier attacked peaceful anti-government protesters demanding his ouster over the country’s worst economic crisis that led to acute shortages of staple food, fuel and power.
Nine people were killed and over 200 people injured in the violence in Colombo and other cities.
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) had earlier decided to summon Rajapaksa before it on Wednesday, News First, an online news portal said.
However, Rajapaksa could not be summoned as statements could not be obtained from all police officers and prison department officials on the incident.
Now, it has decided to summon Rajapaksa after obtaining statements from these officials on the May 9 attack on the protesters.
In addition, the HRCSL said that further statements would be recorded from the victims.
Thereafter, statements will be obtained from Mahinda Rajapaksa and other politicians regarding the incident.
Sri Lanka has been witnessing large-scale protests against the government’s handling of the debt-ridden economy — the worst-ever economic crisis in the country’s history.
The country of 22 million people is grappling with unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948.
The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.


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