Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his first appearance since a mob burnt down his private residence said he would safeguard the Constitution
“A government must act according to the Constitution. No one can go beyond it and force or dictate Parliament from outside on how it should act. I am here to safeguard the Constitution and listen to the people,” Wickremesinghe said in a recorded address.
Wickremesinghe said he had accepted the post of Prime Minister at the time the economy was in disarray and had worked to stabilise the situation since taking office.
“I understand the hardships of the people, and I have apologised for that,” he said in the statement. The Prime Minister also spoke on the circumstances that led to the mob attack on his residence.
“I was at home that afternoon following some meetings when the police advised me to leave my private residence as some of those who were returning from the protests were passing by my house. Therefore, I left my residence with my wife. My residence was burnt, and my only treasure was my library consisting of over 2,500 books and some of which were over 200 years old. There were also some valuable paintings, some painted by British personnel while they were occupying the country. There was one painting of King Wimaladharasuriya meeting a Dutch Ambassador. Maithree and I had decided to donate those valuable books to Royal College, Peradeniya University and other institutions,” the Prime Minister said.
Wickremesinghe said that only people with a Hitler-like mindset torch buildings. He said the mob was instigated to attack his house by a private media institution which misreported what had happened at the party leaders meeting held on 9 July and even gave the directions to the mob to reach his house.
“I called the news director of the media institution three times and told him to stop this as they will burn down our homes, but they did not stop but continued to instigate the mobs to attack the house,” he said.