Home / News / World /  Sri Lankan ousted President Rajapaksa returns home from Thailand

Former Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled the country about two months ago during the nation's worst-ever economic crisis situation, returned home from Thailand on Friday, according to news agency PTI.

Rajapaksa fled the country on July 13 after protestors in Sri Lanka demanded his resignation and stormed the President’s House in Colombo and several other state buildings in the capital.

The ex-president returned to Sri Lanka on a Singapore airlines flight. He arrived at the Bandaranaike International Airport amidst a heavy security presence and was received by several ministers and Parliamentarians of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party.

According to sources as quoted by PTI, Rajapaksa traveled from Thailand to Singapore to take the flight as there are no direct flights between Bangkok and Colombo. Now, he will be living in a state bungalow near Wijerama Mawatha in Colombo and a large security contingency will be appointed to maintain security in the area, Daily Mirror Lanka reported as quoted by PTI.

Rajapaksa is still entitled to a government house, security, and other privileges as he is a former president. The agency reported that first, he fled to the Maldives after leaving Sri Lanka, and then proceeded to Singapore from where he sent his resignation on July 14.

Later, he reached Thailand for temporary shelter. The country had said that Rajapaksa can stay here for 90 days because he is still a diplomatic passport holder. He was not allowed to engage in political activities in Thailand and was only confined to a hotel, surrounded by security personnel.

The media reports had earlier also stated that Rajapaksa is awaiting to obtain a US Green Card to return to America and settle there with his wife and son.

Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror, citing highly-placed sources, claimed that Rajapaksa's lawyers in the United States had already begun the procedure last month for his application to obtain the Green Card as he was eligible to apply due to his wife Loma Rajapaksa being a US citizen.

In 2019, Rajapaksa renounced his US citizenship to contest the 2019 presidential polls. Rajapaksa took early retirement from the Sri Lanka Army and moved into the field of information technology, before immigrating to the United States in 1998. He returned to Sri Lanka in 2005.

Amid the row surrounding the frequent travel of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to foreign countries since his ouster from power, the new Sri Lankan leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has come forward to clarify that the current government is not playing for the overseas stay of the former President who fled the country after violent protests.

Notably, Wickremesinghe was earlier appointed as interim president of Sri Lanka as Rajapaksa fled abroad after his palace was stormed by angry protesters amid the unprecedented economic crisis.

Sri Lanka continues to face a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst-ever economic crisis with soaring inflation. The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice, ANI report said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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