Ex-Cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga arrested over fatal shooting in Sri Lanka

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Petroleum Minister and cricket legend Arjuna Ranatunga was arrested on Monday for the first violent incident that killed one person during the on going political crisis in the country, police said.

The political crisis in Sri Lanka took an ugly turn on Sunday when bodyguards of 54-year-old Ranatunga, a loyalist of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, fired live rounds at the supporters of the new premier Mahinda Rajapaksa, leaving one person dead.

One person succumbed to his injuries and two others were hospitalised in the shooting incident and a security personnel was arrested at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) premises on Sunday in Dematagoda following a tense situation.

Ranatunga, captain of Sri Lanka’s 1996 cricket World Cup winning side, was arrested on Monday for the incident at his ministry premises when a petroleum worker died due to shooting by his security staff, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Ranatunga was the petroleum minister in the ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government.

The incident took place when the cricketer-turned-politician visited the CPC office, with several petroleum corporation workers objecting to his presence there.

When Ranatunga entered the building the supporters of the new prime minister Rajapaksa took exception to him visiting the office and shouted slogans.

When they were not allowed to move out, Ranatunga’s security personnel opened fire which injured three persons, police said. Unconfirmed reports said that two of Ranatunga’s security personnel have been arrested.

Ranatunga is a supporter of Wickremesinghe who was sacked by Sirisena. Wickremesinghe holds his sacking was illegal and unconstitutional.

Sri Lanka is facing a political crisis after President Sirisena sacked prime minister Wickremesinghe on Friday, and replaced him with former strongman Rajapaksa.

Sirisena also suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.

The president’s office also announced that with Wickremesinghe’s sacking, the Cabinet stands dissolved.

Meanwhile, Rajapaksa on Monday assumed charge as Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister.

Rajapaksa assumed the duties in the prime minister’s secretariat which was not used by the ousted prime minister Wickremesinghe, officials from his Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) said.