Drug dealers, fundamentalist groups taking advantage of economic crisis, says Advisor to Sri Lanka President
Posted on April 16th, 2022

By Ravi Jalhotra

Colombo [Sri Lanka], April 17 (ANI): Amid protests in Sri Lanka over the country’s worst economic crisis, an advisor to the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday said the government has tried to control drug dealers “who have a lot of money” and that they are “very angry”.
In an interview with ANI, Walpole Piyananda, Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on International Religious Affairs also said that “fundamental Leftist groups” were also working against the government and sections of the minority community in the country “were angry” with the government.
He indicated that ongoing protests against the Sri Lankan government in which demands are being made for Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation were also a result of “fundamentalist groups taking advantages right now, especially drug dealers.”
“Drug dealers are hanging around… this government tried to control (it), many of them (have been) caught. They are very angry with the government. They have a lot of money,” he said.
He said that the Catholic Church has a “misunderstanding” with the government and that the Muslims are “angry” with the government due to the government’s move to “reclaim” some of the Buddhist temples in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka that were “taken over”.
On the ongoing economic crisis, Piyananda said that the Sri Lankan government had steered the country through a difficult COVID-19 pandemic.
Referring to the discontent among people due to economic hardship, he said “they weren’t maybe thinking what had happened in the past.”
Piyananda recalled civilisational links between India and Sri Lanka.
“Thank you so much to India. India is like our big brother… all of our culture, custom, tradition, all of (it) came from India. We depend on India all the time,” Walpole Piyananda, Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on international religious affairs said.
“Since our Lord Buddha was born in India… we have great relationships from that time till now,” he added.
Piyananda, a practising Buddhist monk, said the present government of Sri Lanka tries to follow the “principles of Emperor Ashoka”.
He thanked India for the help extended to Sri Lanka amidst its worst economic crisis. Piyananda said Sri Lanka needs financial help to deal with the economic crisis.
Sri Lanka is grappling with an economic crisis that has led to massive protests against the ruling Rajapaksa government.
Sri Lanka’s economy has been under pressure since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A crash in the tourism sector was followed by a crash in the agriculture sector after the government’s move to ban all chemical fertilizers in a bid to make the Island country’s agriculture fully organic.
Sri Lanka is facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has affected its capacity to import food and fuel, as well as resulted in the country defaulting on its foreign debt. (ANI)

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