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18 arrested by Sri Lankan police for protesting killing of Tamil man by state minister's bodyguard

Sri Lankan police have arrested 18 people today for protesting the killing of a Tamil man who was shot in the head last month, by a Sri Lankan Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officer attached to parliamentarian Sathasivam Viyalendiran.

The parents of murdered man, Mahalingam Balasundaram, were among those arrested with other local demonstrators at Gandhi Park, Batticaloa who came to seek justice for the murder of the 34-year-old. 

Batticaloa police insisted that the arrests were made on the basis that public protests violates current COVID-19 guidelines and that all 18 people arrested face legal action following an antibody test.

Balasundaram was a tipper truck driver who is said to have lived on Urani Merasa Road, Batticaloa. According to local journalists, Balasundaram was travelling in a three-wheeled rickshaw, when a confrontation arose with the ministerial security guard. The verbal confrontation escalated into a scuffle and the security guard is said to have shot Balasundaram in the head.

The minister's bodyguard has been arrested in connection with the shooting and is currently being held on remand.

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