The electricity lines to Temple Trees have been disconnected following orders from President Maithripala Sirisena, Colombo Telegraph learns.
The disconnection of electricity lines indicates an attempt to forcibly take over the control of Temple Trees – the official residence of the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka – which has been held by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe since last Friday.
However, Temple Trees still continues to be a hive of activity with supporters of Wickremesinghe bringing in generators to the official residence of the Prime Minister. A large number of UNP MP and their supporters have camped inside the Temple Trees premises protecting Wickremesinghe and convention of Parliament.
Meanwhile, IGP Pujith Jayasundara has informed Jayantha Wickremasinghe, the DIG of the Prime Minister’s Security Division to reduce the number of STF personal provided for the security of Wickremesinghe.
According to Jayasundara’s orders, Wickremesinghe’s security detail will now be comprised of only 10 STF security personnel.
Commenting on the letter, UNP Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva said the Prime Minister’s life was now under threat.
“Under our government, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who did not hold any government position, had 70 STF personal,” De Silva said.
UNP MPs currently inside Temple Trees have requested more party supporters to join them in a bid to resist what they term an arbitrary and undemocratic move by President Sirisena.
Meanwhile, one person, a Ceylon Petroleum Corporation worker, died last night during a shootout that broke our during a tense situation at the CPC premises. It all started when SLFP-SLPP unions attempted to prevent subject minister, Arjuna Ranatunga, from entering into the CPC premises, in Dematagoda, last evening.
After his entry amid protests, Ranatunga was trapped inside the CPC premises as protesters, led by Sirisena-Rajapaksa goons, blocked his way out. Several politicians of the SLPP were also seen among the protestors who were threatening to “finish off” the Minister.
This led to a clash between Ranatunga’s security officers and the trade union members which left three injured. One of the three later succumbed to injuries at the Colombo National Hospital. Ranatunga was taken out of his office, camouflaged in a STF uniform and a helmet. He later addressed a press conference at Temple Trees explaining the ordeal.
However, a CPC trade union affiliated with the SLFP has launched a continuous strike demanding the arrest of Ranatunga over the incident. Long lines were seen near fuel stations last night as the public launched into panic buying fearing a trade union action.
Several countries have already announced travel advisories on Sri Lanka, while many others, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, have issued statement expressing grave concerns. These unexpected developments took place just a day after Lonely Planet described Sri Lanka as the world’s best travel destination. Tourism industry is to be severely affected by the current political turmoil.