A group of Sri Lankan Special Task Force (STF) elite commandos, who entered the Welikada prison in Colombo on a search operation has provoked anger among the inmates after engaging in verbal abuse against the prisoners. As the prisoners began to stone the STF commandos, additional troops were rushed to control the riot that has erupted inside the prison, informed sources told TamilNet. A prison officer, a guard and a prisoner have been rushed to hospital with serious injuries. Around 10 STF commandos have sustained wounds, according to medical sources. Tension prevails at Welikada prison.
The stones thrown by the prisoners reached the road hitting travellers on the Wales Road that was later closed to the public by the SL Police.
Most of the Tamil political prisoners, arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), are kept at this Welikada prison. They are kept in detention without any charges filed against them for a prolonged period of time.
The inmates have been protesting for several years demanding action to release or to initiate legal proceedings against them.
The Welikada prison, called the “maximum security Central Jail” in the island, turned out to be notorious when over 50 Tamil prisoners were massacred by the Sinhalese guards and prisoners during the anti-Tamil pogrom in July 1983.