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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightLessons from Lanka

Lessons from Lanka

Lessons from Lanka

Finally that fall happened: Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned while in hiding and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced his readiness to resign. The downfall of the Sri Lankan government was by no means unexpected. International observers had predicted this months ago. When a country goes without water to drink or bread to eat, without even a drop of kerosene to boil tea, and then the people struggle for life and take to the streets, what other option do the rulers have? For the people who stood face to face with death by starvation, there is no question of being afraid of guns and boots of the army. It has been weeks since the people took to the streets, courting death with guns and clubs rather than slogging like worms without any rights. The regime tried everything in its powers to suppress the popular wrath with an emergency and tight controls. Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa had all the support of the imperialist powers, who harbour the wish to control every country from remote. But news from the capital city of Lanka once again tells the world that the uprising of a people wounded is bigger than any empire. When they found that Gotabaya refused to accept their demand to go home, they marched to Gotabaya's house. People who flocked to Colombo from different parts of the country occupied his palace. They set ablaze the Prime Minister's private residence. The agitators tell the media that the riches and symbols of luxury inside the residences of the national leaders, while ordinary people are stdruggling with no money even to buy a packet of milk for their babies, only prove that their protests are is in the right direction

Even a few years ago, Sri Lanka was a country divided by severe ethnic violence and communal prejudice. But those distinctions have vanished from among the people who squeeze themselves in seats on trains and rush to the capital city. Hurried attempts are underway to form a new government. The economic crisis is so severe that the incoming government will not be able to perform any big miracles except that the people can be dispersed from the palace courtyard for the time being. The debt of the country is 51 billion dollars. The insecurity after the terrorist attack and the Covid pandemic have hit the tourism sector hard. The agriculture sector is also weak as the farmers do not even get fertilizers. The country does not have even the reserve for daily expenses in the country.

Sri Lanka's policies in recent times have been formulated under compulsions of the neoliberal financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF). All foreign loans received in the name of development were subject to stringent conditions. Naturally, the government's priority is to frame policies in line with the conditions imposed by the financial institutions rather than the welfare of the people. Public assets were sold off and all service sectors were privatized. As a fallout of this, corruption and consequently vested interests became rampant. It was recently revealed that even the Indian government had exerted pressure on power policy for their crony tycoon. The experience of Lanka is a warning to the governments and rulers of the world about the disaster that will follow if they help monopolies and financial institutions forgetting the people. One wonders whether our rulers who blindly trust the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Japan Development Bank and distrust the people, farmers and social workers, are paying any heed to what is happening in their neighbourhood.

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TAGS:Sri Lankan crisisGotabaya RajapaksaRanil Wikremesinghepeople occupy Prez palacetemporary reprieve IMF & World Bank
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