Sri Lanka students take to streets after Ranatunga assault claim
COLOMBO, March 5 (AFP) - Thousands of Sri Lankan students protested here Monday to denounce the island's cricket legend Arjuna
Ranatunga for allegedly beating up students who hit a cricket ball into his family home.
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 Gujrat 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 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 Monday he wanted an impartial inquiry and alleged the
students had tresspassed 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 allegedly being beaten up by Ranatunga, his brothers and 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.