Jail attack was planned - survivors

[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
"The attack on Tamil political prisoners had a political motive and was quite clearly premeditated" said Mr. Dharmalingam Sidarthan MP for Vavuniya and leader of the PLOTE speaking to the Tamil Net this afternoon after returning from a visit to the Kalutara prison and the Nagoda hospital earlier today.

He spoke to the Tamil youth who were brutally attacked yesterday by a mob of Sinhala convicts while the jail guards and army stood by. He also spoke to the injured youth who are being treated in the Nagoda hospital.

The Tamil political prisoners, according to him, had suspected an impending attack on them yesterday and had taken the necessary precaution by locking themselves inside block B of the jail premises where they are being held.

The attack began as they had expected; and the Sinhala mob attempted to break through the main entrance of block B.

Efforts by the Tamil prisoners to hold on to the gate failed as the mob threw chilli powder and poured boiling water on them.

The Sinhala mob was also armed with swords. Unable to block the main entrance any longer in the face of this vicious attack, the Tamil prisoners had run into their cells and locked themselves in. Three prisoners , however, slipped and fell while running towards the safety of their cells.

The mob caught up with them and attacked them with swords, killing two of them on the spot. The other Tamil youth who was trapped thus, ran towards a military sentry nearby and pleaded with the soldier to save him.

But the army sentry just stood by as the mob caught the boy and hacked him to death.

Mr. Sidarthan said that the attack was very much like the one in the Welikada prison July 1983 in which 53 Tamil political prisoners were brutally massacred.

The Tamil political prisoners said today that they should immediately be transferred to the Welikada prison in Colombo and that only political prisoners should be held in that jail.

 

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