Wickremesinghe issues gazette declaring high-security zones surrounding Presidential Secretariat

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe

Colombo [Sri Lanka], September 23 (ANI): Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued a gazette notice declaring several areas in Colombo as High-Security Zones including the area surrounding the Parliament Complex, Presidential Secretariat and President’s House, reported Sri Lanka’s local media outlet The Daily Mirror.
Citing the order made by President Wickremesinghe under Section 2 of Official Secrets Act, No. 32 of 1955, the Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka read, “The High-Security Zones, which comprise of the areas specified in the Schedule of these Orders, are hereby declared.”
“The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence shall be the competent authority for the implementation of these orders. The competent authority may make provisions for the regulation of certain activities within the High-Security Zones based on the security situation or during special occasions. The competent authority may issue commands incidentally from time to time for the proper implementation of these orders,” it added.
Sri Lanka continues to reel under a severe economic crisis. Earlier, protesting the dire conditions, Sri Lankan protesters had broken into then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence and set it on fire. They were angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.
During those protests, several journalists were also attacked by the security forces after which more protestors gathered in the area. Notably, Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development progress and severely undermining the country’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The protests came after the worsening economic situation in the country led to increasing tensions and reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public queued for hours and sometimes days amid the fuel crisis.
Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. At present, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours.
The island nation is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel, leading to power cuts in the country. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.
India has been at forefront of extending economic assistance to Sri Lanka as per their requirements and is one of the countries that have provided the maximum amount of assistance in time of need. In 2022, India extended around USD four billion in bilateral assistance to Sri Lanka. (ANI)