On November 29, 2020, 11 inmates died in an incident at Mahara Prison. More than 100 people including two prison officers were injured. The inhumanity aspect here is that nine out of the 11 dead have been confirmed to be Covid-19 patients. That means, a group of patients have been killed. It was our observation that the cause of their killing was the result of a struggle for patient rights.
As Jagath Weerasinghe, its superintendent, said about Mahara Prison, Mahara Prison is a special prison that holds people who have been imprisoned more than twice for criminal offences. There is only room for 670 people in that prison. But now about 3,000 are detained. It also has a remand section. This is the general situation in Sri Lankan prisons.
Anyone can understand that when Covid-19 spreads in such an environment, social distancing cannot be maintained, the disease spreads at high speed, and not only prisons, but the entire society is at risk. However, it is not clear whether the government understands these issues. The government is responsible for the safety of prisoners. Creating a situation where prisoners are killed will not end this problem.
Welisara Magistrate Thusitha Dhammika Udivavidana, who decided that the killing of 11 inmates in Mahara Prison was a crime, yesterday (26) ordered the CID Police to immediately arrest all prison officials involved in the crime and bring them to court. And also the magistrate also said that according to the manner in which the deceased were shot, it does not appear that they were shot to quell a riot or for a humanitarian operation.
Amit Subhasinghe, Ravindu Sulakshana Rudrigu, Sujith Kumar, Prageeth Atula Kumara, Kariyawasam alias Ranga, Sampath Pushpakumara, Bhavanta Mahinda, Malan Peck, Avishka Madhushan, Lahiru Nimantha and Sujith Kumara who were detained in Mahara Jail died in this incident.
Ajith parakum jayasinghe
( praja.lk )