Aruna Udayashantha alias ‘Ranale Samayan’, the prominent underworld figure who was murdered yesterday, told our sister paper Lankadeepa in 2015 that he never wanted to become a thug.
He expressed this following a telephone interview with Lankadeepa in October, 2015, weeks after he was injured when a gunman opened fire at him inside the Kaduwela Court premises.
Q; Can I call you Aruna or Samayan?
A; No issues. Just call me Aruna
Q: But why do everyone call you Samayan?
That is a nickname coined by my friends, for my mischievous ways.
Q; You wanted to become a thug, didn't you?
I never wanted to become a thug or an underworld figure? I need to lead a peaceful life, but no one is letting me to do so
Q; What is your home town?
My birth place is in Polonnaruwa. I came to know about it only recently.
Q; Is it true that your father and mother were teachers?
Yes that is true. They adopted me.
Q; Have you got any brothers or sisters?
No, I am the only child
Q; Where did you study?
Q; What was your childhood like?
When I was five, I lost my father. My family had enough properties. Everyone tried to grab our properties because I and my mother were the only inheritors to them. They created problems for us. When I tried to speak against them, they cornered me labelling me as an adopted child.
Q; Did any relatives help you?
No, never, they all cornered me and my mother.
Q; What happened to your studies?
I managed to pass the GCE O/L, but I had to face problems when I was doing my A/L
Q: Any favourite subjects?
Yes, Sinhala and Maths were my favourite subjects in school.
Q; What happened then?
I had to face more problems during that period. Everyone tried to chase me and mother from the village. I was assaulted on several occasions. One day my mother got a letter asking Rs. 300,000 as ransom. They threatened to kill me if my mother failed to give the money. My mother got upset about it and lodged a complaint with the Nawagamuwa Police station when I was seven. If you check the police complaints book during that period, you can find it.
Q; Haven’t you told these things to a teacher in your school?
At that time, I had so many friends. My mother tried to separate me from them.
Q; Did you think of earning some money at that time?
No..No.., because my mother treated me well, we owned shops.
Q; Did you have any love affairs?
I had several, but those were not serious, because the mindset I had those days due to the problems I had to face. I did my O/L in 2004. After that I was always away from the house.
Q; When were you arrested for the first time?
Q; What was the reason?
I was taken into police custody for being near a group, which possessed a weapon. Then police charged me for possessing a bomb, which I never did. That was the turning point in my life.
Q; What thoughts welled up in your mind when you were arrested?
I was beaten by the Police for three months. I felt scared, I remembered my mother. She used to visit me regularly to the Police station and because of that she suffered a leg problem. She is still suffering from that. The Police should take the responsibility, for my position today.
Q; When was you released?
Q; Are you married?
Yes, in 2014, I got married and now I have one child.
Q; How do you see your child’s future?
I will never allow my child to fall into my society. I only have my mother, wife and the child, and no one else.
Q; Is it true that your rival gang is getting political support?
Yes, I think so.
Q; Did you help any politicians?
Not me. May be my friends helped some politicians.
Q; Have you thought about reforming yourself?
I wanted to change my life, but I can’t. Problems were coming after me. I wanted to have a peaceful life overseas with my wife and child. I was seriously thinking about changing my life, at that time I was shot near the Kaduwela Court. I was shot because I asked everyone to stop selling drugs. My supporters were murdered.
Q; You are only 36. Have you felt you reached this position too fast in your life?
I was made to come so far too fast by this society. I never did such things that were being rumoured. I retaliated to those who attacked me.
Q; If something happens to your life?
I still have my home environment. I did attack only those who attacked me. I am a respectable boy hailing from a respectable family. I want to guide my child and show him the right path. I will not allow my child to become a person like me.