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April 17, 2018

Sri Lanka arrests ruling party dissident as political crisis deepens

World

April 17, 2018

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan police Monday arrested a leading dissident within President Maithripala Sirisena’s party, deepening political tensions on the island after the head of state suspended parliament. Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a former sports minister, was held over 39 million rupees ($260,000) that were allegedly misappropriated in 2014, police said in a statement. He was accused of spending government money to buy sports goods, which were handed out in a bid to get support for former president Mahinda Rajapakse ahead of a national election. The items included 14,000 boards for the popular South Asian game of carrom. Aluthgamage is a key figure in a faction that opposes Sirisena within his socialist Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). The party has been in an uneasy coalition with the right-wing United National Party of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe since 2015.

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