The state minister of prisons and prisoner rehabilitation, Lohan Ratwatte storms the Anuradhapura prisons under influence of alcohol, summons eight prisoners, who are being held under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, forces two of them on their knees and threatens them at the gunpoint. He was allegedly trying to extract a confession of their complicity in the LTTE crimes.
The following day, the spokesman for department prisons denied that such an incident had occurred, and also denied reports of a previous antic by the same minister who, also after a couple of shots had visited the Welikasa prisons in the dead of night to show his fellow revellers the gallows. The Commissioner-General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya claimed he was unaware of the incident.
But, as the public outcry intensified and the Colombo-based diplomats took note, the Minister resigned. But, he is still the minister of Gem and Jewelry, a portfolio he concurrently held.
So is the Commissioner-General of the Prisons, whose sycophantic defence seemed to have been reciprocated. He has since changed the story and claims that he ordered an investigation soon after the incident.
The Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekara says he has ordered the IGP to investigate the incident. The CID is also reportedly probing the incident. That’s it. But, in the absence of CCTV footage inside the Anuradhapura prisons, and in the backdrop of stark politicization of the law enforcement apparatus in recent times, anything can happen.
Indeed, the police are busy arresting pesky demonstrations under the quarantine laws. Similar enthusiasm has not been seen about the state Minister of escapade at Anuradapura prisons.
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