The killing of Thushara Dewalegama, a supporter of Minister of Foreign Employment Thalatha Athukorala, is not a politically motivated murder, Police Spokesperson ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said. While the incident is being reported as being election violence related by various outlets including election monitoring groups, according to the Police the victim was embroiled in a personal dispute over a gem mine in the area resulting in his eventual death.

Speaking to The Nation, ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said four suspects have currently been arrested over the alleged murder. “They are individuals personally known to the victim,” he said.

Dewalegama, a father of three was attacked by the suspects while on the way for campaign purposes in the Rathnapura, Nivithigala area. Villagers had found him lying near a canal. However, he was pronounced dead on admission to the Ratnapura Hospital. His family, parents and relatives were reported to have said that Dewalegama had been assaulted on several occasions earlier for engaging in political activities.