Scores of Sri Lankans, on boats, flee to Tamil Nadu amid economic crisis

Updated on Jul 28, 2022 02:41 PM IST

Unable to survive months of crippling economic crisis in Sri Lanka, people have started to leave the country. Meanwhile, the state of emergency has been extended by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

A demonstrator waves a Sri Lankan flag near police barriacdes during a protest march towards the Presidential secretariat office in Colombo.(AFP)
A demonstrator waves a Sri Lankan flag near police barriacdes during a protest march towards the Presidential secretariat office in Colombo.(AFP)

Scores of Sri Lankans, fleeing their economically distressed nation, arrived in India's Tamil Nadu, including at least six people from two families on Wednesday, officials were quoted in a report. Sri Lanka's parliament has extended the state of emergency imposed earlier in July as protests continued to grow amid months of a financial crisis that led to a food, fuel and power shortage.

Of the six people who escaped to Tamil Nadu the previous day, three of them were children, according to news agency PTI. The families had left their hometown of Jaffna in Sri Lanka and arrived in India by a boat.

Officials then rescued them from an islet and took them to the Mandapam refugee camp, PTI stated.

Over the past few months, many Sri Lankans – most of them Tamils – have left the island nation to enter India through Tamil Nadu as they were unable to survive the crisis, with prices of essential commodities and fuel skyrocketing there.

They were dropped near Rameswaram island by boatmen and rescued by the Indian Coast Guard and brought to Dhanushkodi to be handed over to the police.

Last week, seven people belonging to two families in Lanka arrived in the state.

State of emergency in Sri Lanka

The ‘emergency’ was declared on July 18 by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was still the acting president at the time, under the Public Security Ordinance in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community, according to reports.

With Wednesday's parliamentary sanctioning, the state of emergency will now be in force until August 14.

During a debate in Sri Lanka's Parliament, the Opposition lawmakers accused Wickremesinghe of ordering a crackdown on the peaceful protesters by using the state of emergency. The government was blamed for unleashing a crackdown on protesters who had forced the resignation of the Rajapaksa family.

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