The Indian High Commission here on Wednesday categorically dismissed speculative media reports about New Delhi sending its troops to Colombo, saying India is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.
The denial from the Indian mission came a day after it refuted as ”fake and blatantly false” local social media speculation that former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family members have fled to India.
The whereabouts of Mahinda Rajapaksa has been speculated since his resignation on Monday. It was reported that Mahinda had left his office-cum-official residence, Temple Trees.
In its first reaction to the situation in Sri Lanka, India on Tuesday said that it is ”fully supportive” of the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.
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“The High Commission would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media and social media about #India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Government of #India,” the Indian mission said on Twitter.
“The Spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs of India clearly stated yesterday that India is fully supportive of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery,” it said in another tweet.
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in New Delhi on Tuesday: ”India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes”.
Mahinda, 76, resigned as prime minister amid unprecedented economic turmoil in the country, hours after his supporters attacked anti-government protesters, prompting authorities to impose a nationwide curfew and deploy Army troops in the capital. The attack triggered widespread violence against pro-Rajapaksa politicians.
A group of protesters gathered around the Naval base in the eastern port district of Trincomalee, claiming Mahinda had taken refuge there.
Calls for his arrest are increasing for his alleged instigation of a mob which went on to attack anti-government protesters who are calling for the Rajapaksa family, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to resign.
At least 8 people have died while over 250 people have been injured in the clashes which also saw scores of properties belonging to ruling party politicians being set on fire.
President Gotabaya has urged the people to stop ”violence and acts of revenge” against fellow citizens and vowed to address the political and economic crisis facing the nation Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining 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.
Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9.