MP Herath queries on missing footage of Mahara prison unrest

MP Herath queries on missing footage of Mahara prison unrest

MP Herath queries on missing footage of Mahara prison unrest

Written by Staff Writer

03 Dec, 2020 | 9:13 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): An opposition lawmaker has questioned the exclusion of scenes showing prison officers firing gunshots in the Mahara prison unrest, in video footage released by the government on Wednesday.

“Everyone admits that officers fired gunshots in the prison. But the visuals do not show the shooting,” Vijitha Herath, a Jathika Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian queried.

He insisted that the root cause of the unrest on Monday was the failure to respond to the requests made by inmates to conduct PCR tests amidst a spread of COVID-19 infections in prisons.

The incident had killed 11 and injured 117.

“None of the inmates had died due to gunfire that was opened at them. All deaths had taken place due to the scuffles that broke out between inmates,” state prisons minister Lohan Ratwatte claimed.

Government lawmakers have insisted that the unrest had begun after inmates had consumed a drug used for mental disorders, but the opposition has criticized the use of gunfire to quell the situation regardless of the circumstances.

“If our country is notorious for opening gunfire at prisoners for requesting PCR tests and treating prisoners in a harsh manner, the international community will get a bad impression about the government’s conduct towards the ordinary people,” S.M. Marikkar, an opposition lawmaker argued.

He also raised concerns on attempts to cremate the bodies of the inmates killed in the unrest, under the COVID-19 regulations, as they had tested positive for the virus.

“We are suspicious whether they are attempting to cremate the bodies to cover up the true facts of the incident,” the Samagi Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian said.

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