Gotabaya Rajapaksa Age, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

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Age: 73 Years
Religion: Buddhism
Wife: Ioma Rajapaksa


Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Full nameNandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa [1]Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s LinkedIn
NicknameThe Terminator [2]International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Note: According to several sources, he was given this nickname by the Sri Lankan citizens due to his ruthless approach.
Profession(s)Ex-Sri Lankan Army officer and Politician
Famous forFleeing Sri Lanka as the 8th President of Sri Lanka
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 177 cm
in meters- 1.77 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 10”
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourSalt and Pepper
Military Service
Service/BranchSri Lankan Army
RankLieutenant Colonel
Service Years26 May 1972 - 1 November 1991
Unit(s)• Signal Corps (1972-1974)
• Sinhala Regiment (1974-1980)
• Rajarata Rifles (1980-1982)
• Gajaba Regiment (1982-1991)
Commands• Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion of the Gajaba Regiment
• Deputy Commandant of Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy
Career Ranks • Second Lieutenant (1972-1974)
• Lieutenant (1974-1975)
• Captain (1975-1980)
• Major (1980-1989)
• Lieutenant Colonel (1989-1991)
Political PartySri Lanka Podujana Peramuna
SLPP flag
Political Journey• Defence Secretary (2005-2015)
• 8th President of Sri Lanka (18 November 2019-14 July 2022)
Military Decorations• President’s Inauguration Medal by the Sri Lankan government (1978)
• Sri Lanka Armed Services Long Service Medal by the Sri Lankan government (1984)
• Purna Bhumi Padakkama by the Sri Lankan government (1984)
• North and East Operations Medal by the Sri Lankan government (1986)
• Vadamarachchi Operation Medal by the Sri Lankan government (1987)
• Rana Wickrama Padakkama (RWP) by the Sri Lankan government (1994)
• Rana Sura Padakkama (RSP) by the Sri Lankan government (1994)
• Desha Putra Sammanaya (DPS) by the Government of Sri Lanka (1994)
• Eastern Humanitarian Operations Medal (with clasp) by the Sri Lankan government (2010)
• Northern Humanitarian Operations Medal (with clasp) by the Sri Lankan government (2010)
Personal Life
Date of Birth20 June 1949 (Monday)
Age (as of 2022)73 Years
BirthplacePalatuwa, Matara, British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)
Zodiac signGemini
SignatureSignature of Gotabaya Rajapaksa
NationalityFrom 1949 to 2003, Gotabaya Rajapaksa remained a citizen of Sri Lanka; however, in 2003, he renounced his Sri Lankan citizenship and became a citizen of the US. In 2019, before taking over the office of the President of Sri Lanka, he renounced his American citizenship and once again acquired his Sri Lankan citizenship. [3]Business Standard
HometownPalatuwa, Matara, Sri Lanka
SchoolAnanda College
College/University• Madras University
• Colombo University
Educational Qualification(s)• M.Sc in Defence and Strategic Studies (MDSS)
• Diploma in Information Technology (IT) [4]Deccan Herald
ReligionBuddhism [5]The Times of India
AddressHouse No. 26/A, Pangiriwatta Mawatha, Mirihana, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
ControversiesAccusing the UN and the west: In 2007, Gotabaya Rajapksa claimed that the United Nations (UN) functioned on the wrong and fake information which was being fed to it by the "terrorists," who had infiltrated the organisation for the last thirty years. In his statement, he also accused the United Kingdom of bullying Sri Lanka so that it could dominate Sri Lanka's foreign policy and diplomacy. He further claimed that the aid which was being given to Sri Lanka by the western nations was very less and the country did not require any sort of assistance from any foreign country to cater for its own need. Talking about it, he said,
"This is international bullying. We won’t be isolated. We have all the Saarc [South Asia Association of Regional Co-operation] countries, the Asian countries. Britain, or the Western countries, the EU countries, they can do whatever they want to. We do not depend on them. They think that they we get aid. No, they are not giving us anything.” [6]BBC

Accused of killing a journalist who exposed corruption in the fighter aircraft deal: Lasantha Wickrematunge, a popular journalist in Sri Lanka, wrote an article titled The anatomy of the MiG deal in August 2007, through which he exposed the malicious role played Gotabaya and his cousin Udayanga Weeratunga, an industrialist, while procuring the Ukrainian-made Mikoyan MiG-27 fighter aircraft for the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). In 2008, Gotabaya Rajapaksa responded to the accusations by filing a defamation case against Lasantha for Rs 2 billion. In his defence, during an interview, Gotabaya said that "such allegations had created adverse consequences to the war against the LTTE rebels on the battlefield.” [7]Sunday Observer In 2009, when Lasantha was on his way to submit the evidences regarding the corruption in the MiG-27 deal with Ukraine, he was killed by gunmen. Gotabaya was accused by the journalists in Sri Lanka to have masterminded the murder of Lasantha. [8]Committee to Protect Journalists A decade later, in 2019, Ahimsa Wickrematunge, daughter of Lasantha, filed litigation against Gotabaya in the United States, and accused him of plotting her father's murder. [9]Daily Mirror In his defence, Gotabaya said that the cases lodged against him were a conspiracy, which was being orchestrated by the United National Party (UNP). During an interview, while talking about it, Gotabaya said.
"These lawsuits have been filed to delay the process and discourage me. I have handed the matter to my lawyers [in Los Angeles] to take care of and I am looking ahead to what needs to be done for our country. These are baseless allegations made by people outside our country to delay the process because I am a strong candidate. Let them attack, I am fully prepared.” [10]Daily FT
The American Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the cases against Gotabaya on 27 February 2020 because after becoming the 8th President of Sri Lanka, he was entitled to the provisions made under the US' foreign official immunity act; however, the court, in its judgement, also stated that Ahimsa could anytime restart the court proceedings against Gotabaya once he steps down from his post as the President. Talking about the court's judgement, Ahimsa said,
"This ruling is a victory, and a message to Gotabaya Rajapaksa: His maneuvers to escape justice for his role in my father’s assassination continue to fail. He will not enjoy immunity forever, and his presidency can only delay, not prevent accountability. Those of us who lost everything to his barbarism and bloodshed will never give up our fight for justice.” [11]Colombo Telegraph

The white van phenomenon: In 2008, the Sri Lankan investigative agencies found a white van, which was used to kidnap a Sri Lankan journalist named Keith Noyahr, in the parking lot of a Sri Lankan Army major's residence. Many sources claimed that the major shared a very close relationship with the then defence secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The sources also claimed that the same van was later on used in the murder of the Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga in 2009.

Threatening journalists of facing dire consequences: While giving an interview to The Sunday Times, in 2008, Gotabaya, while expressing his anguish, openly threatened the journalists of the newspaper of facing dire consequences had they not stopped writing articles that criticised the Sri Lankan forces for violating human rights during the civil war. Talking to the journalists of The Sunday Times, Gotabaya said,
"Don't you understand what I am trying to say? If you do not agree and continue with what you are doing, what has to happen to you will happen. I am definitely not threatening your lives. I am not. It will happen from where it happens. Our services are appreciated by 99 per cent of the people. They love the Army Commander (Lt. Gen. Fonseka) and the Army. Those who love us do what is required. We cannot help that. Journalists: If newspapers and media are publishing falsehood, you can correct them. Those mechanisms are still in place in Sri Lanka. If you cannot correct them through the media, then file action in the courts. Otherwise, if some wrong information is printed, doing such things is not the answer.” [12]The Sunday Times

Accused of giving a diplomatic post to a murder suspect: In 2009, Gotabaya was also accused of giving a diplomatic post to Bandara Bulathwatte, who was the prime suspect of Lasantha Wickrematunga. According to several sources, Gotabaya had personally requested the Sri Lankan government to send him as a Sri Lankan diplomat to Thailand. Many sources also claimed that Gotabaya had hastily sent Bandara to Thailand, and he did not even attach Bandara's biodata in the request letter that was sent by him to the Sri Lankan government.

Accused of procuring a fake diplomatic passport for a former LTTE commander: In 2009, Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan was caught and questioned by the British authorities in London. He was arrested in Britain on the charges of procuring a fake diplomatic passport and violating human rights during the Sri Lankan civil war. Vinayagamoorthi, who also goes by the name Colonel Karuna, was an LTTE commander who left the rebel outfit in 2004 and established his own pro-Sri Lankan government faction named Karuna Faction, which helped the government in securing a victory over LTTE in 2009. When the British officials questioned Vinayagamoorthi about how he procured a fake passport, he claimed that he was helped by the then defence secretary of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Ministry claimed that the accusations were "false and baseless." [13]BBC Sinhala

Allegations of violating human rights in Sri Lanka during the civil war: A report was published by Sri Lankan journalists in early 2009, which claimed that the Sri Lankan military was actively bombing hospitals that were located in the war zones in Sri Lanka. Gotabaya responded to the reports and gave a controversial remark by stating that any place or area, which does not fall in the government-designated safe zones, was a legitimate target for the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and that they reserved the right to bombard the area at will. He further said that the military only bombed places which harboured people who sympathized and collaborated with the LTTE. Gotabaya further claimed that the government could not guarantee the safety of the civilians stuck outside the designated safe zones because the government had already asked the civilians to make their way to the safer lines, an instruction to which the civilians failed to adhere. Talking about it, Gotabaya said,
"The government calls on all civilians to enter the demarcated ‘safety zone’ as soon as possible. It is unclear how the tens of thousands of people caught up in the fighting can escape. The rebels prevent people from leaving the area. We have demarcated a safety zone within the LTTE area and have asked all of the civilians to move into it. For the last two years we have had no civilian casualties. There was no place for civilians to go once the Sri Lankan military started moving up. We have provided medical facilities throughout and have evacuated Puthukkudiyiruppu where LTTE leaders are hiding. So how can we save the hospitals? We have stopped firing in the area.”
In 2013, WikiLeaks claimed that the former Sri Lankan Army commander Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka had revealed to them that during the war against LTTE, the Sri Lankan Army was ordered by the then defence secretary Gotabaya to shoot those who tried to surrender and were affiliated with the LTTE. When the report was published by WikiLeaks, infuriated Gotabaya publically threatened to hang Sarath Fonseka. During an interview, Gotabaya exclaimed,
"He can not do that. He was the commander! That is a treason. We will hang him if he does that. I am telling you!…. How can he betray the country like that? He is a liar, liar, liar.”
In the same year, The Sunday Guardian, in its article, claimed that Prasad Samarasinghe, a retired Sri Lankan Army major general, had passed several sensitive documents to the United States of America (USA) through its embassy in Colombo. The article further claimed that the documents handed over to the US contained the names of people who were abducted and killed as they fell out of favour with the Rajapaksa family. Later, in 2013, a UN official named Navanetham Pillay visited Sri Lanka. In her statement to the United Nations (UN), she criticised the Sri Lankan government for the abductions that took place in Sri Lanka. [14]The Hindu Due to the allegations of violating human rights in Sri Lanka, Gotabaya was denied entry into the United States in 2015. In 2016, Gotabaya claimed that when he was on a visit to the US, he was confronted by two American-based Tamil groups. He further claimed that the groups demanded Gotabaya's immediate arrest and trial by law for his alleged role in the violations of human rights during the Sri Lankan civil war. [15]Ada Derana YouTube video In 2016, the Sri Lankan State Intelligence Agency (SIA) accused Gotabaya of plotting and planning the murder of a former Sri Lankan MP and lawyer named Nadarajah Raviraj. The SIA also accused Gotabaya of paying Rs 50 million to Colonel Karuna, the former LTTE commander, for killing Raviraj. [16]Colombo Telegraph In 2017, the Sri Lankan CID filed a report in a Sri Lankan court in which it stated that Gotabaya Rajapaksa led a death squad, with the aid of the Sri Lankan military, which was tasked with abducting and killing journalists, who were critical of the Rajapaksa family, in Sri Lanka. [17]Al Jazeera

Smuggling arms and ammunition for the mercenaries in Sri Lanka: In 2015, a merchant navy ship named M.V. Avant-Garde was seized by the Sri Lankan authorities off the Sri Lankan coast. The authorities found 816 automatic rifles of different types and 2,02,674 rounds of ammunition on board, which were to be given to the mercenaries operating within Sri Lanka. The shipping company was also believed to have close relations with the Rajapaksa family. In the same year, Gotabaya was accused of smuggling these weapons from abroad to support his mercenaries who were working in Sri Lanka. In 2015, a Sri Lankan court even barred Gotabaya from leaving the country; however, the ban was lifted in 2016. [18]The Hindu [19]The Guardian [20]BBC

Fled Sri Lanka amidst the 2022 economic crisis: From 2019 to 2022, during his Presidentship, Gotabaya Rajapaksa implemented several economic and agricultural policies which increased the total debt of the country and pushed the country into an economic turmoil as a result of which massive protests took place in Sri Lanka, where the protestors accused Gotabaya of stealing public's money and demanded his resignation. [21]The Times of India Following the massive outroar of the Sri Lankan citizens, on 13 July 2022, Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled Sri Lanka and went to the Maldives, and from there he fled to Singapore. On 14 July 2022, he resigned from his post while he was in Singapore. After resigning from his Presidentship, Gotabaya went to Thailand. On 3 September 2022, Gotabaya returned to Sri Lanka. [22]BBC News Some sources claimed that he returned to Sri Lanka because he was permitted to stay in Thailand for 90 days only, while some sources claimed that the total cost of living in Thailand with 24/7 VVIP security was costing him a lot of money and had become unsustainable for him. [23]DailyO [24]The Week
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Marriage DateYear, 1980
Wife/SpouseIoma Rajapaksa (former first lady of Sri Lanka)
Gotabaya with Ioma, his wife
ChildrenSon- Manoj Rajapaksa (engineer)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his son
ParentsFather- D. A. Rajapaksa (politician, freedom fighter)
DA Rajapaksa, father of Gotabaya
Mother- Dandina Rajapaksa
Gotabaya Rajapaksa offering a garland at the portrait of his mother
SiblingsBrother(s)- 5
• Chamal Rajapaksa (former speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament, lawyer)
Gotabaya's elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa
• Mahinda Rajapaksa (former President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa (left) with his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa
• Basil Rajapaksa (former minister of finance, former member of parliament)
From left to right: Basil, Mahinda, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa
• Dudley Rajapaksa (vice president of QA/RA/Technical Service at Berlin Heart GmbH)
Gotabaya Rajapaksa's brother Dudley Rajapaksa
• Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa
Chandra Tudor Rajapaksa, deceased brother of Gotabaya

Sister(s)- 3
• Jayanthi Rajapaksa (former member of parliament, former deputy minister of water supply and drainage)
• Preethi Rajapaksa (teacher)
• Gandini Rajapaksa
Style Quotient
Car CollectionGotabaya Rajapaksa had a huge collection of luxurious cars. When the mob stormed his residence, they found more than 50 imported cars parked in his parking lot. [25]Kanak News
Money Factor
Net Worth (approx.)Several media outlets claim that his net worth is around $10 million.

Gotabaya with PM Modi

Some Lesser Known Facts About Gotabaya Rajapaksa

  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa is a retired Sri Lankan Army lieutenant colonel who became the 8th President of Sri Lanka in 2019. In July 2022, he came to the limelight after he escaped from Sri Lanka and resigned from his Presidentship.
  • On 26 April 1971, Gotabaya Rajapaksa joined the fourth batch of the Sri Lankan Army Training Center as an officer cadet after completing his schooling.
  • On 26 May 1972, after completing his military training, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was commissioned into the Sri Lankan Army’s Signal Corps as a second lieutenant.

    A photograph of Gotabaya Rajapaksa (left) as a second lieutenant

    A photograph of Gotabaya Rajapaksa (left) as a second lieutenant

  • A few months after his commissioning, in 1972, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sent to Pakistan by the Sri Lankan Army to complete his signals young officers course.
  • Later, in the same year, after Gotabaya Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka from Pakistan, he was posted as a signal officer to the Task Force Anti Illicit Immigration (TF-AII).
  • After getting promoted to the rank of lieutenant, in 1974, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sent as an infantry officer to an infantry regiment of the Sri Lankan Army named the Sinhala Regiment.
  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa was once again sent to Pakistan by the Sri Lankan Army to attend the infantry young officers course at the School of Infantry and Tactics. He completed the course in Pakistan and returned to Sri Lanka in June 1975.
  • In the same year, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was promoted to the rank of captain, and he was posted as an intelligence officer; an appointment which he held until 1977.
  • Later, in 1977, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was posted in the administrative branch of the Diyatalawa Garrison as a Grade 3 Staff Officer (GSO-3).
  • In 1977, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sent to attend a senior staff and tactics course, conducted by the Sri Lankan Army.
  • In 1980, after becoming a major, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was posted in the newly raised infantry regiment of the Rajarata Rifles as a battalion adjutant.
  • Later, in 1980, Gotabaya Rajapaksa attended a jungle warfare course, which was conducted by the Indian Army at the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) in Mizoram.
  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa was among the few Sri Lankan Army officers selected to attend the Command and Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) in Wellington, India.
  • In the same year, after returning to Sri Lanka from India, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sent as a second-in-command of the 1st battalion of the newly raised Gajaba Regiment, which was formed after amalgamating two different Sri Lankan Army’s infantry regiments; Rajarata Rifles and Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment.
  • In 1985, under Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s leadership, the Gajaba Regiment managed to stop the rebel faction LTTE’s march on Jaffna and Elephant Pass, which earned him a Presidential commendation medal.
  • In 1987, under Gotabaya’s command, the 1st battalion of the Gajaba Regiment was moved to Colombo to contain the violent uprising of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).
  • After seeing action against the JVP in Colombo, Gotabaya was posted to the Sri Lankan Army’s headquarters as a Grade 2 Staff Officer (GSO-2) in December 1987.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his fellow Sri Lankan military officers

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa with his fellow Sri Lankan military officers

  • In 1988, Gotabaya Rajapaksa attended the advanced infantry officers course held at the United States Army Infantry School in Fort Benning.
  • In the same year, after returning from the US, Gotabaya became a lieutenant colonel.
  • In 1989, Gotbaya was once again posted to the Gajaba Regiment. Under his command, the unit participated in two operations, Operation Strike Hard and Operation Thrividha Balaya, against the LTTE.
  • From January 1991 to November 1991, Gotabaya Rajapaksa served as the deputy commandant at the Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy. He retired from the Sri Lankan Army on 1 November 1991.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa's photograph which was taken while he was serving as the deputy commandant at Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s photograph which was taken while he was serving as the deputy commandant at Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy

  • After leaving the Sri Lankan Army, in 1991, Gotabaya pursued a postgraduate diploma in designing, programming, and database management at the University of Colombo.

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa while pursuing a diploma course at the University of Colombo

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa while pursuing a diploma course at the University of Colombo

  • From 1991 to 1998, Gotabaya worked as a marketing manager with a Colombo-based IT company named Informatics.
  • In 1998, Gotabaya, along with his family, moved to the US, where he worked at the Loyola Law School as a system integrator and UNIX Solaris administrator. He worked at Loyola Law School till 2005.
  • Gotabaya Rajapaksa entered politics when he left the US and moved back to Sri Lanka to campaign for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2005 Presidential elections.
  • After Mahinda’s victory in the 2005 Presidential elections, he appointed Gotabaya as the permanent defence secretary of Sri Lanka. As a defence secretary, Gotabaya oversaw the anti-LTTE operations, which were undertaken by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces.

    A photo of Gotabaya, as a defence secretary, while visiting a military hospital to meet the soldiers wounded in the battle against LTTE

    A photo of Gotabaya, as a defence secretary, while visiting a military hospital to meet the soldiers wounded in the battle against LTTE

  • On 1 December 2006, when Gotabaya Rajapaksa was on his way to attend a National Security Council meeting in Colombo, the LTTE attempted to assassinate him through suicide bombing. A motor vehicle loaded with high explosives managed to breach Gotabaya’s security detail; however, the Sri Lankan Army commandos, protecting Gotabaya, intercepted the motor vehicle, which resulted in the driver detonating the bomb early, killing two commandos.
  • In May 2009, the Defence Ministry was renamed the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development by the Sri Lankan government after the defeat of LTTE.
  • While giving an interview, Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he was critical of the role played by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF), which fought the LTTE in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990. He also said that the intervention of the Indian government resulted in the reversal of the advancements made by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces against the LTTE during the civil war. [26]ThePrint He said,

    Sri Lankan operations against the LTTE could not be sustained because the Indian government intervened in 1987. Vadamarachchi Operation was foiled by the intervention of the Indian troops in 1987. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa went out of his way to brief New Delhi about all the latest developments.”

  • On 6 September 2009, Colombo University honoured Gotabaya with an honorary degree in the Doctorate of Letters. [27]Colombo Telegraph

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Colombo University receiving his honorary Doctorate

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Colombo University receiving his honorary Doctorate

  • In 2011, Gotabaya implemented several developmental projects aimed at improving the standard of living of the citizens of Sri Lanka. The projects increased the growth rate 0f Colombo, and in 2015 Colombo was declared one of the fastest-growing cities in the world. [28]Daily Mirror
  • In 2015, after Gotabaya’s defeat in the Sri Lankan general elections, he stepped down from the post of defence secretary.
  • In 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa contested the Presidential elections and won. He took the oath as the 8th President of Sri Lanka on 18 November 2019 and became the first Sri Lankan Army officer to become the President of Sri Lanka. After taking over the Presidentship, Gotabaya, in an interview, said,

    I, as your new President, invite you all again to work together with me for the future prosperity of the country as true Sri Lankans. As the President, my responsibility is to serve all people in the country. Accordingly, I will protect the civil rights of all those who voted for me as well as those who didn’t.”

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his swearing-in ceremony as the 8th President of Sri Lanka

    Gotabaya Rajapaksa during his swearing-in ceremony as the 8th President of Sri Lanka

  • In 2019, for conducting the Presidential election campaign in an eco-friendly manner, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was awarded a Zero Carbon certificate. His electoral campaigning became the world’s first campaign to have emitted zero carbons. [29]Daily News

    Zero Carbon certificate being given to Gotabaya Rajapaksa

    Zero Carbon certificate being given to Gotabaya Rajapaksa

  • In the same year, before taking over the office of the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya renounced his American citizenship.

    Passport issued by the United States of America to Gotabaya Rajapaksa

    Passport issued by the United States of America to Gotabaya Rajapaksa

  • After becoming the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa implemented several policies which ended up draining the Sri Lankan economy, which further deteriorated their situation.
  • In 2019, Gotabaya passed a bill in the Sri Lankan parliament that empowered the government to chop down trees and clear out the forests that were designated as “non-protected forests.” This triggered deforestation at a massive scale and drew criticism from many Sri Lankan environmentalists. In its defence, the Sri Lankan government claimed that the forests were cleared to undertake developmental projects as well as to address the acute shortage of food that the country faced. [30]Mongabay
  • In the same year, the Sri Lankan government reduced the tax slab for its citizens, which resulted in a drastic reduction in the income of the Sri Lankan government that it earned by collecting taxes. The situation worsened more because of the COVID-19 pandemic as it drastically affected Sri Lanka’s tourism industry which not only led to more than 200,000 people losing their jobs but also drastically reduced the revenue earned by the country to cater for its expenses.
  • During the 2020 lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka, the country faced a massive shortage of food and other essential commodities due to faulty methods adopted by the Gotabaya-led administration to curtail a steep rise in the total COVID-19 cases in the country. Since the government had to import essential commodities, Sri Lanka’s FOREX reserves were nearly depleted.
  • Sri Lankan government, in 2021, implemented an agricultural policy which called for an immediate shift from non-organic methods of farming to organic methods of farming. Many sources claimed that the Sri Lankan government implemented the agricultural policies without acquiring any prior information about the agricultural sector of Sri Lanka, which resulted in paddy crop failure in Sri Lanka. The crop failure led to the government starting a $1.2 billion emergency food aid program, a $200 million income-support program for the farmers, and importing hundreds of thousands of tons of rice from other countries. The policy destroyed the Sri Lankan agricultural sector, and to revive it the government had to request the World Bank (WB) for a loan of $700 million. [31]The Sunday Times The former plantation minister of Sri Lanka, Ramesh Pathirana, talked about the food crisis and said,

    We will be importing fertilizers depending on the requirement in the country. So far, we don’t have enough chemical fertilizers in the country because we didn’t import them. There is a shortage there.” [32]The New York Times

  • In 2021, a report published by The Globe and Mail on the agricultural policy of Sri Lanka said that many farmers in Sri Lanka claimed to have “never received any sort of training about the organic techniques by the government.” [33]The Globe and Mail
  • In 2021, to recover its financial losses, the Sri Lankan government took loans from several sources and countries and upon failing to repay a debt of $51 billion, Sri Lanka was declared a sovereign default country.
  • When Ranil Wickremesinghe resigned from his post as Prime Minister in 2020, Gotbaya Rajapaksa appointed Mahinda as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka; therefore, Sri Lanka became the second country after Poland, where two brothers occupied top political posts. [34]Fox News

    Gotabaya (right) accepting a document from Mahinda (left) during Mahinda's oath-taking ceremony as the Prime Minister

    Gotabaya (right) accepting a document from Mahinda (left) during Mahinda’s oath-taking ceremony as the Prime Minister

  • In 2022, after violent protests erupted in Sri Lanka, Gotabaya sacked three of his close relatives from the cabinet and appointed new ministers who appealed more to the masses.
  • In the same year, the Gotabaya-led Sri Lankan government implemented several economic policies in an attempt to recover the dwindling economy; however, the policies further drained Sri Lanka’s already depleted Foreign Exchange (FOREX) and gold reserves. The economy further weakened when the Sri Lankan rupee recorded a 30 per cent depreciation in its value against the US dollar.
  • The faulty policies implemented by the Sri Lankan government further led to a severe shortage of essential commodities such as medicine, food, and fuel. By March 2022, the country began facing load shedding for at least 13 hours every day.
  • In July 2022, following a massive uproar in Sri Lanka, many cabinet ministers from Gotabaya’s party resigned from their posts.
  • On 9 July 2022, Gotabaya attempted to flee the country but was not allowed to leave the country by the Sri Lankan Immigration Department. Even the US rejected his VISA and debarred him from entering the country.
  • According to many sources, Gotabaya managed to leave Sri Lanka with the help of the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). Many sources claimed that on 13 July 2022, Gotabaya fled to the Maldives from Sri Lanka in the SLAF’s Antonov An-32 aircraft.
  • On the same day, he issued a gazette notification in which he stated that he was “unable to exercise, perform, and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the Office of the President because of his absence from Sri Lanka.”
  • On 14 July 2022, Gotabaya appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as an acting President of Sri Lanka under article 37 (1) of the constitution of Sri Lanka. [35]Tamil Guardian
  • After appointing Ranil as the acting President of Sri Lanka, on 14 July 2022, Gotabaya left the Maldives and went to Singapore, from where he sent his resignation to the speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament through email on 14 July itself. [36]Hiru News In his resignation letter, Gotabaya wrote,

    It is my personal belief that I took all possible steps to address this crisis, including inviting parliamentarians to form an all-party or unity government.” [37]Reuters

  • In 2022, when the angry protestors ransacked Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence in Sri Lanka, they found cash worth Rs 17.85 million or $50,000. The protestors handed over the cash to the Sri Lankan police. [38]The New Indian Express [39]The Hindu The Sri Lankan police’s spokesperson, during a press conference, said,

    The cash was taken over by the police and will be produced in court today. The cash found was in mint condition and it mostly contained the new bank notes.”