COLOMBO: After clashes broke out in Sri Lanka where the protesters came under attack by the pro-government supporters, the World Bank (WB) has expressed deep concerns over the deteriorating situation in the Island Nation.
The developments come even as nationwide protests against the government have intensified over the past few days resulting in an increase in incidents of clashes with the security forces deployed at protest sites.
WB Country Director for the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Faris H. Hadad-Zervos on Monday tweeted, "We are deeply concerned with the perpetration of violence in Sri Lanka."
"Those responsible are only standing in the way of the country's immediate economic recovery and making the task even more difficult for development partners," he added.
Meanwhile, the ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family in Medamulana, Hambantota was set on fire by protesters. The protestors also set on fire Former Minister Keheliya Rambukwella's house in Kandy.
Moreover, the houses of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MPs Bandula Gunawardena, Prasanna Ranatunga, Channa Jayasumana, Kokila Gunawardena, Arundika Fernando, Thissa Kuttiyarachchi, Kanaka Herath, Pavithra Wanniarachchi have also been attacked.
Earlier, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa's residence in the city of Kurunegala in the north-western province was set on fire, hours after the leader tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as the country goes through an intensified civil strife amid a crippling economic crisis.
A large number of protesters including the Inter-University Students Federation (IUSF) were out on the streets and attacked the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MPs. Even some Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) offices were set ablaze.
The developments come, even as the Prime Minister tendered his resignation and has called for the formation of an all-party interim government to handle the ongoing economic crisis in the country.
The military has been deployed on the roads to maintain calm despite an island-wide curfew.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices, and power cuts affecting a large number of the citizens, resulting in massive protests over the government's handling of the situation.
The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies, like the government's move last year to ban chemical fertilizers in a bid to make Sri Lanka's agriculture "100 per cent organic".
Due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted on the entirety of its foreign debt amounting to about USD 51 billion. The economic situation has led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.