Ship part

Economic crisis in Sri Lanka: Ship carrying diesel reaches Lanka amid state of emergency: 10 points

Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency amid the worst economic crisis in its history

New Delhi:
A 36-hour curfew has been imposed in Sri Lanka from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday amid a wave of protests over the economic crisis in the island nation.

Here’s your 10-point cheat sheet for this big story:

  1. The curfew was imposed to prevent protests and Sri Lankans will not be allowed out except for essential services during the curfew.

  2. The nation of 22 million is in the grip of its worst recession since independence, triggered by an acute lack of foreign currency to pay for even the most essential imports.

  3. Diesel – the main fuel for buses and utility vehicles – was not available at stations across the island, officials and media said – crippling public transport.

  4. Private bus owners – who make up two-thirds of Sri Lanka’s fleet – said they were already running low on oil and even skeleton services may not be possible after today.

  5. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency on Friday, giving sweeping powers to the security forces. Former President Maithripala Sirisena’s Freedom Party has called on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to form a multiparty government to overcome the crisis, PTI news agency reported.

  6. Mr Rajapaksa invoked the strict laws allowing the army to arrest and detain suspects for long periods without trial as protests calling for his ouster spread across the island nation.

  7. The southern towns of Galle, Matara and Moratuwa have also seen anti-government protests, and similar protests have been reported in northern and central regions. All blocked traffic on major roads.

  8. Rajapaksa’s office said on Friday that protesters wanted to create an “Arab Spring” – a reference to anti-government protests in response to corruption and economic stagnation that gripped the Middle East more than a decade ago.

  9. One of the president’s brothers, Mahinda, is prime minister while the younger, Basil, is finance minister. His older brother and nephew also hold ministerial positions.

  10. Sri Lanka’s predicament has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has torpedoed tourism and remittances. Many economists also say the crisis has been exacerbated by government mismanagement and years of accumulated borrowing.