COLOMBO, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lanka's former Housing Minister, Wimal Weerawansa who is currently in prison on allegations of misusing state vehicles, has begun a hunger strike urging for his release.
Weerawansa, who is a strong ally of former President Mahinda Rajapakse, was arrested by the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) on January 10 over allegations of misusing state vehicles during the former Rajapakse regime, thereby incurring a loss of 91 million Sri Lankan rupees (599,276 U.S. dollars) to the state.
A spokesperson for the former minister said that Weerawansa's arrest has been a political witch hunt and he had commenced a hunger strike in prison after his bail application was rejected by a high court on Tuesday.
Weerawansa was on Tuesday further remanded till April 3.
Prison authorities confirmed that Weerawansa had refused to have his breakfast on Wednesday and they were monitoring the situation.
This is the second time that Weerawansa has been engaged in a hunger strike.
The former minister launched a "fast unto death" campaign in 2010 outside the UN office in Colombo demanding that former UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon dissolves a three-member panel looking into human rights abuses in the final stages of a decade-long war that ended in 2009 between the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. He ended his four-day fast later after then President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited him and gave him water.