Lanka government gives Gotabaya security, bungalow amid arrest calls after his return – Times of India

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka‘s ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been given special security and a state bungalow on his return to Colombo from Thailand where he fled amid protests over the country’s worst economic crisis, even as he faced calls for arrest from protesters and union leaders.
Rajapaksa was garlanded with flowers by ministers and senior politicians after disembarking from his flight in Colombo on Friday.
He was driven in a security convoy to a new official residence provided to him by the government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, his successor, in the posh area of Cinnamon Gardens. A large security contingency will also be deployed to maintain security near the bungalow, Daily Mirror newspaper reported. Rajapaksa will be provided with all the privileges that a former president is entitled to, News Frist portal quoted the Sri Lankan president’s secretary Saman Ekanayake as saying.
Meanwhile, leaders of the protest campaign that toppled his government said Rajapaksa, who lost his presidential immunity after leaving office, should now be brought to justice. “Gotabaya returned because no country is willing to accept him, he has no place to hide,” Joseph Stalin, the leader of a teachers’ trade union that helped mobilise demonstrators, said. “He should be arrested immediately for causing misery for the 22 million people of Sri Lanka,” he added. “He can’t live freely as if nothing has happened.”
Sri Lanka’s main opposition alliance, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), has yet to comment on Rajapaksa’s return, but a former minister from the bloc said the ousted leader needed to be prosecuted. “Gotabaya must be held to account for his crimes before and during his presidency,” Ajith Perera, a former member of parliament, said.