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Closely following developments in Sri Lanka, hope democratic values will be respected, says India

Sri Lankan President Sirisena Friday sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and swore-in Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place. He also suspended the parliament for 16 days on Saturday as Wickremesinghe demanded an emergency session to prove his majority.

india Updated: Oct 28, 2018 16:24 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India on Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka crisis,Ministry of External Affairs
This handout released by Sri Lanka President media on October 26, 2018 shows former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse handing over documents to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena as Rajapaksa is sworn in as Prime Minister, in Colombo. (AFP/ Handout)

India is “closely following” the political crisis in Sri Lanka, where President Maithripala Sirisena appointed former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister after sacking incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe and suspended parliament, and hopes “democratic values and constitutional process” will be respected, the ministry of external affairs said Sunday.

“India is closely following recent political developments in Sri Lanka. As a democracy and a close friendly neighbour, we hope that democratic values and constitutional process will be respected. We’ll continue to extend our developmental assistance to friendly people of Sri Lanka,” a ministry statement said.

President Sirisena Friday sacked prime minister Wickremesinghe and swore-in Rajapaksa in his place. He suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe termed the swearing-in of Rajapaksa “illegal and unconstitutional” and sought an emergency session to prove his majority.

The political turmoil came amid growing tensions between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe on several policy matters, reported PTI.

Sirisena’s broader political front UPFA has also announced that it has decided to quit the current unity government with Wickremesinghe’s UNP. The government was formed in 2015 when Sirisena was elected President with Wickremesinghe’s support, ending a nearly decade-long rule by Rajapaksa.

Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe resisted moves to evict him from his official residence, officials said Sunday, as Rajapaksa sought blessings at a prominent temple ahead of naming a new cabinet, according to AFP.

The new ruling party had given him time till Sunday morning to leave the Temple Trees official residence and officials said police will now seek a court order to evict Wickremesinghe, whose security and official cars were also withdrawn by president Sirisena on Saturday.

The political developments drew a sharp response in Tamil Nadu with DMK president MK Stalin Saturday leading a chorus of opposition political parties in voicing concern at the overnight “mysterious” changes in the neighbouring island nation and at Rajapaksa’s appointment which they claimed poses a major threat to Tamils in the island.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 12:14 IST