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Sri Lanka crisis: Indian High Commission denies stopping issuance of visas

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Colombo, May 13: Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on Friday categorically denied that it has stopped issuing visas in the country, saying the disruption was caused by operational difficulties due to the inability of Visa Wing staff, most of whom are Sri Lankan nationals, to attend office.

Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka denies stopping issuance of visas

The High Commission said it was striving to return to its normal functioning soon.

"High Commission categorically denies that it or the Indian Consulates-General or the Assistant High Commission of #India in #SriLanka have stopped issuing visas. In the past few days, there were operational difficulties due to the inability of our Visa Wing staff, most of whom are #SriLankan nationals, to attend office," the Indian High Commission tweeted.

"We are striving to return our functioning to the normal levels soon. We remain committed to facilitating ease of travel for #SriLankans to #India. #SriLankans are welcome in #India just as #Indians are in #SriLanka," it said.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, sparking protests in the country that has paralysed the country.

Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis has provoked widespread protests calling for political reform and the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

On April 1, President Rajapaksa imposed a state of emergency, lifting it five days later. The government reimposed a state of emergency on May 6 after police fired teargas and arrested students protesting near parliament, which was adjourned until May 17.

Although the protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful, the police fatally shot a protester on April 19, and on several occasions have used teargas and water cannons against protesters. The authorities have made numerous arrests and repeatedly imposed curfews.

The political crisis was triggered in late March when people hurt by long hours of power cuts and essential shortages took to the streets demanding the resignation of the government.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sacked his cabinet and appointed a younger cabinet as a response to the demand for resignation. A continuous protest opposite his secretariat has now gone on for well over a month.

On Monday, his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as the prime minister to make way for the president to appoint an interim all political party government, His resignation came after government supporters attacked peaceful anti-government protest sites in Colombo and elsewhere, killing at least 8 people and leaving over 200 others injured in the violence.

Sri Lankan authorities on Wednesday deployed troops and military vehicles in the streets to ensure public security in the Capital amidst nationwide protests over the government's failure to tackle the worst economic crisis.

The deployment came a day after the country's Ministry of Defence ordered the Army, the Air Force and the Navy personnel to open fire on anyone looting public property or causing harm to others amidst violent protests in the island nation over the unprecedented economic crisis.

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