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Sri Lanka's State Minister of Tourism ousted from parliament

Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage has been ousted from parliament after the Supreme Court found she had breached immigration laws by reportedly hiding her British citizenship.

Gamage entered the parliament through the national list under the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), before crossing over to join Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, a case was lodged in the Supreme Court challenging her suitability to hold office given the fact that she was a dual citizen, a claim she has repeatedly denied. 

Gamage once called for and encouraged violence against student protests in Colombo during the 2022 demonstrations in Sri Lanka.

The writ petition was filed by civil activist Oshala Herath, who sought a ruling that Gamage was unqualified to serve as a Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament due to her British citizenship.

However, Gamage is not the only member in Sri Lanka’s parliament who holds dual citizenship. Former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa is a US passport holder and frequently travels to the country. 

His brother and former president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, last year reportedly applied to restore his US citizenship after renouncing this citizenship to be able to contest the 2019 elections. Rajapaksa was forced to flee Sri Lanka amidst mass demonstrations triggered by the country’s economic collapse in 2022.

He was defence secretary during the 2009 Mullivaikkal genocide and directed the killing of tens of thousands of Tamils.

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