Colombo (Sri Lanka) | Jagran News Desk: Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's former Prime Minister who resigned from his position on Monday, has been moved to the Trincomalee naval base after being evacuated from his official residence and will continue to stay there till the situation in the island nation improves, Defence Secretary General (retd.) Kamal Guneratne said on Wednesday.

"He (Mahinda Rajapaksa) was evacuated to the Trincomalee naval dockyard," Guneratne said, as reported by news agency PTI. "He will not live there forever. After the situation returns to normal, he will be relocated to a residence or location of his choice."

76-year-old Rajapaksa's evacuation from 'Temple Tree' was conducted on Tuesday, a day after violence erupted in Sri Lanka following his resignation. Officials said protesters had Rajapaksa's official residence, but he was evacuated after the police kept the agitators away using tear-gas shells.

"After a pre-dawn operation, the former PM and his family were evacuated to safety by the army," AFP quoted security officials as saying. "At least 10 petrol bombs were thrown into the compound."

Sri Lanka central bank chief threatens to quit

On Wednesday, Sri Lanka's central bank governor P Nandalal Weerasinghe threatened to quit from his position amid the ongoing instability in the country. Weerasinghe, appointed central bank chief last month, said a stable government was essential to stop the turmoil.

"I have clearly told the president and other political party leaders that unless political stability is established in the next two weeks I will step down," Weerasinghe was quoted as saying by Reuters.

"Without political stability, it doesn’t matter who runs the central bank," he said, "There will be no way to stop the economic deterioration."

9 killed, over 200 injured in violence

With police and armed forces ordered to shoot anyone damaging public property or threatening lives, soldiers in armoured vehicles patrolled the streets of the commercial capital Colombo.

So far, at least nine people, including two policemen, have been killed in violence across the country, which has also left more than 200 people wounded and 136 houses damaged, Gunaratne said.

"This is the time for all Sri Lankans to join hands as one, to overcome the economic, social and political challenges," President Rajapaksa said on Twitter.

"I urge all Sri Lankans to reject the subversive attempts to push you towards racial and religious disharmony. Promoting moderation, toleration and coexistence is vital."

It was not immediately clear what prompted his warning, but Sri Lanka has a long and bloody history of ethnic tension.

Pope Francis urged the government to "listen to the hopes of the people" and respect human rights and civil liberties.

Protesters have also called on the president to go. Analysts say the president can be impeached if he refuses to step down, though the opposition, which has rejected his calls for a unity government, lacks the necessary two-thirds majority in parliament.

No president has ever been successfully impeached and removed from office in Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma