‘One Shot’ Fires At The Government
By Nirmala Kannangara
Actor-turned-politician Ranjan Ramanayake accused the government of masterminding his recent arrest and claimed that he wouldn’t have undergone such a traumatic situation had he supported the government on the controversial 18th Amendment.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader after he was bailed out by the Kandy court, Ramanayake said that he had to serve a jail term for an offense he has not committed, but simply for refusing to support the government on the 18th Amendment.
Ramanayake was arrested on Thursday, October 14 and by Kandy police. According to Police Spokesperson SP Preshantha Jayakody, Ramanayake had taken Rs. 1 million from a female school teacher in Kandy, promising to marry her.
“This is what the genuine opposition politicians or supporters in Sri Lanka would have to face if they do not support the government. This is not new to the world as we have seen countries that had dictatorship regimes and as to how their leaders have treated opponents. For example, take Zimbabwe – the Robert Mugabe regime, Iraq – the Saddam Hussein regime and even in Myanmar none of their leaders’ opponents were able to live peacefully. It is the same thing that is happening in our country. The more you criticize the present regime, the more your life is at risk,” claimed Ramanayake.
According to Ramanayake, he has been arrested by a police team who came in civvies without a court order or a letter from the speaker.
“I was arrested while I was at a discussion with the Deputy Mayor of Sri Jayewardenepura, Kotte, bypassing the normal procedure. The police officers who came to arrest me were in civvies and neither carried an arrest order or a letter from the speaker. Violating all these norms, they arrested me for an offence I have never committed. Even one of my staffers, Upul, who is on the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry payroll, was assaulted by this police team when he requested them to produce my arrest warrant to him,” Ramanayake said.
According to Ramanayake, this female school teacher in question is 42 year old Namal Wijeratne from the Katugastota Rahula Maha Vidyalaya whom, according to him, has been known to him for the past ten years.
“Since 2000 she was one of my fans and has sent me letters, cards, cakes, pillow covers etc. although I knew nothing about her. I knew that she was coming on the wrong track and tried to avoid her many times, but still she kept on calling and sending me letters and gifts. Even once she sent me one of her photographs in a bikini and asked me to comment on her figure. When I ignored her, then she started to comment on my film One Shot and even went beyond, praising my half covered body. Then I knew what her mentality was and ignored her. But she kept on calling me and sending me gifts. Other than this I did not have any other relationship with her, or taken money as she has stated,” Ramanayake said.
Speaking further, Ramanayake queried as to why he would take Rs. 1 million from a woman when he had the opportunity to take Rs. 100 million and many more perks with positions from the government, had he voted for the 18th Amendment in parliament last month.
Accusing the government of pushing the legal authorities to take any possible action against him for not supporting the government on the 18th Amendment, Ramanayake said that he would have been a free man if he supported the 18th Amendment.
“I knew from the beginning that the government was hunting for me because they could not ‘buy’ me for money. From the time I started to contest the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council Election in 2008, the government was eyeing me and wanted me to support them to which they were willing to reward me handsomely. But since I was not greedy for money or positions, I did not want to betray my policies and the party. I have concrete evidence to prove as to how government big wigs offered to pay me Rs. 100 million, give me a luxury jeep and a house at Kalapura in Mt. Lavinia in order to get my support for them,” Ramanayake said.
According to Ramanayake, he has never been summoned by any legal authority, although he has openly stated that the government tried to bribe him on many occasions and is ready to prove to them as he has all the evidence to establish this.
“All this happened because I did not crossover to the government. Even the day I was arrested, one of the leading SLFP parliamentarians from the Colombo District met me at my lawyer’s residence and wanted me to extend my support to the President, assuring me that legal action of any form would not be taken against me. Notwithstanding, once I was told by a certain leader in the government that the doors of Temple Trees are open for me any time,” he claimed.
He further said that from the time he became the Opposition Leader of the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council, he has been receiving death threats and although he made several requests to the authorities to provide him a weapon for his safety, it has not been granted.
“Since then I have been receiving death threats. My vehicle came under attack and all this worsened when I campaigned for the former army commander at the January presidential election. It was I who was with Sarath Fonseka when he was released from Cinnamon Lakeside on that fateful day and no sooner my visuals with Fonseka were shown over TV, I was threatened with death,” Ramanayake charged.
Several attempts to contact the complainant, Ms. Namal Wijeratne by The Sunday Leader failed as the Principal of Sri Rahula Maha Vidyalaya Katugastota, E.M. Edirisinghe, refused to call Ms. Wijeratne to the phone.