State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte who, as exclusively reported by The Morning on Monday (13), who had forcibly entered the Welikada Prison premises with a group of his friends whilst under the influence of liquor, had similarly entered the Anuradhapura Prison on Sunday (12) evening.
According to sources, the pistol-brandishing State Minister, who hails from an influential political family, had attempted to degrade and punish Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suspects by ordering them at gunpoint to kneel down in front of him. It is learnt from the sources that he was under the influence of alcohol during this time as well, and that he had entered the Anuradhapura Prison premises in a helicopter.
Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) MP Gajen Ponnambalam published a post on his official Twitter handle yesterday (14), claiming that his party could confirm that Ratwatte had indeed entered the Anuradhapura Prison, summoned the Tamil political prisoners, and made two of them kneel before him at gunpoint, threatening to kill them on the spot.
On behalf of the TNPF, Ponnambalam called for Ratwatte’s immediate resignation, and that he be stripped of all portfolios. The Tamil National Alliance followed suit, calling on the Government to immediately remove Ratwatte as State Minister and “have him arrested and charged after an immediate inquiry for allegedly threatening to kill prisoners in Anuradhapura prison on Sunday”.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that the said State Minister, who had entered the Welikada Prison premises by force, had allowed a group of his friends to visit and view the gallows, and that among this group was a beauty pageant winner who made national headlines a couple of months ago.
According to sources, the said beauty pageant winner had driven the vehicle in which the group, including the State Minister, had come in. When the group tried to visit the gallows, prison officials had, according to the sources, requested that she not go past the cells where male prisoners are housed owing to her being a female.
However, the only route to the gallows is past the cells where male prisoners are housed, as per the sources. At this juncture, the State Minister and his inebriated friends had verbally abused the prison officers, stating that they should not stop her entry and subsequent passage.
According to the sources, the State Minister’s friends had also been inebriated. Many of them, according to the sources, had also been dressed in short trousers (shorts).
“They were so drunk that some of them couldn’t even stand straight and fell on the ground,” the sources claimed.
When contacted, Prisons Department Media Spokesman and Commissioner Chandana Ekanayaka claimed he knew nothing regarding these incidents.
Similarly, when contacted by The Morning, State Minister Lohan Ratwatte’s Media Secretary said that there is no need to comment on these incidents since no such incidents as claimed by the media had occurred.