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Ranjan arrested over allegedly obstructing police officers

ECONOMYEXT – United National Party (UNP) former parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake was taken into police custody last night over allegedly violating the ongoing COVID-19 curfew and obstructing the duties of police officers.

The former MP was placed under arrest by the Mirihana police at his official residence in Madiwela and is to be produced in the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court today.

A seemingly unperturbed Ramanayake broadcast his arrest live on his official Facebook page, charging that he was being “jailed once again for helping the people”. The video has been viewed nearly 340,000 times so far.

Ramanayake claimed that he had been distributing dry rations for the people affected by the curfew, using his own funds and funds raised by him. Other artists too have been offered help, he said.

“I’ve been to jail before. I’m ready to go again. I see that (former UNP MP) Palitha Thewarapperuma is being taken to courts for a similar reason. This is fine, since I haven’t committed a crime. Let’s see what happens,” he told the live audience.

The actor-turned-politician can be heard asking the police officers who had come to arrest him whether they can record his statement right then and there, but the officers politely refuse. He then repeats the question, quoting his lawyer and former parliamentary colleague M A Sumanthiran but the officers still say no. However, they do concede that Ramanayake does not need to be handcuffed.

සහනාධාර බෙදා දීමේ වරදට රන්ජන් අත්අඩංගුවට ගනි,

Posted by Ranjan Ramanayake on Monday, 13 April 2020

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The privately owned Ada Derana reported that a person without a valid curfew pass had arrived at the Madiwela Parliament Members’ Housing Complex to meet Ramayanayke, and the ex-MP had allegedly threatened and obstructed the police officers who had attempted to question the visitor. (Colombo/Apr14/2020)

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