Thatscricket - News - Arjuna assault: Students take to streets
Published: Monday, March 5, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
Copyright AFP 2000
Colombo: Thousands of Sri Lankan students took to the streets here on Monday denouncing the island's cricketing legend Arjuna Ranatunga for allegedly beating up students who sent a cricket ball to his compound. As tension gripped colleges in the area, the police announced they were planning to question Ranatunga on his return from Kenya where he had travelled after the incident on Friday.Ranatunga, the former captain of the national cricket team and the man who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup, left for Kenya for a pre-arranged charity match to help victims of India's Gujarat earthquake.The education ministry stepped in to defuse the tension by ordering the indefinite closure of the Asoka College. Four of the students from the college are still in hospital following injuries suffered in Friday's incident. Slogan-shouting students from the Asoka College took to the streets with fellow students from two neighbouring colleges joining in to express their solidarity with the victims.Ranatunga's father who is a minister in the Sri Lankan cabinet told a local radio station on Monday that he wanted an impartial inquiry and alleged that the students had trespassed and abused those in his household. Police said they wanted to talk to Arjuna Ranatunga as well as two of his brothers about Friday's clash, which was reportedly provoked by the students hitting a cricket ball into the grounds of the family home.Four of the students remained in hospital on Monday after being beaten up by Ranatunga, his bothers and the security guards at the family residence, according to Lalith Amarasekara, a teacher at the Asoka College."A total of seven were injured and three were discharged on Saturday," he said.The state-run 'Sunday Observer' newspaper reported that local police had to intervene to free students held by Ranatunga's guards.