The General Secretary of the Sinhala nationalist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) has been arrested by Sri Lankan police, after they decided to reopen a criminal case into a 2016 road traffic accident.
Champika Ranawaka, a former Sri Lankan government minister who defected from the previous Rajapaksa regime to back the United National Party, was remanded by the Colombo Magistrate.
Footage shows the nationalist politician being led away in handcuffs by Sri Lankan police, whilst his supporters had gathered outside the court complex.
Ranawaka is known for his history of hardline Sinhala nationalist stances.
In early 2006, Champika Ranawaka, a then senior minister declared, “in the event of a war, if the 40,000 government troops stationed in Jaffna are killed, then 400,000 Tamil civilians living in Colombo will be sent to Jaffna in coffins”.
In Feb 2007, Ranawaka, who is also the ideologue of the ultra-Sinhala nationalist monks’ party, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), openly urged the murders of critics of his government’s critics, saying: “If they can't be dealt with existing laws we know how to do it. If we can't suppress those bastards with the law we need to use any other ways and means!”
In recent years he has repeatedly reiterated his opposition to devolving powers to Tamil provinces.