Arjuna Ranatunga Arrested Over Firing on Protesters, Political Crisis Continues in Sri Lanka
Arjuna Ranatunga (Photo credit: Twitter)

Colombo, October 29: Sri Lanka's Petroleum Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, whose security guards opened fire a group of protesters, was arrested on Monday over the shooting amidst the on going political crisis in the country. "Colombo Crime division arrested Ranatunga over the shooting incident and he will be produced to the court shortly," police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters.

Sri Lanka's political crisis took a violent turn on Sunday when bodyguards of 54-year-old Ranatunga, a loyalist of sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, fired live rounds at the supporters of the new premier Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Maithripala Sirisena. One person succumbed to his injuries and two others were hospitalised in the shooting incident at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) premises in Dematagoda.

One of his security guard was arrested following the incident. Local media reported the crowd tried to abduct Ranatunga. While President Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe, Sri Lankan Parliament’s speaker recognised the embattled UNP leader as the country’s prime minister. Despite this, Rajapaksa assumed duties as the country's new Prime Minister on Monday.

A political crisis erupted in the island country after Sirisena sacked Wickremesinghe on Friday and replaced him with former President Rajapaksa. The President, in a letter sent to Wickremesinghe, had said he had been removed after the Sirisena-led United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) quit the national coalition government. Next day, Sirisena suspended parliament till November 16 after Wickremesinghe sought an emergency session to prove his majority.