Tamil prisoners subjected to racial assault in Anuradhapura prison

A Sinhala assistant jailor and Sinhala inmates in the Sri Lankan prison of Anuradhapura have brutally assaulted three Tamil political prisoners, one of them a pastor and another a 60-year-old man, causing serious injuries to them on Wednesday, said Northern Provincial Councillor Ms Ananthy Sasitharan, who described the attack as a targeted racist assault on Tamil inmates at the prison. The Tamil political prisoners are suffering in the Sri Lankan jails. The racist jailors subject them to psychological harassment by putting Sinhala narcotic criminal prisoners in the same cells. The Tamil prisoners are not being treated as human beings in the SL prisons, she said urging immediate international pressure on the Sri Lankan government.

Citing reliable sources within the SL prison in Anuradhapura, the NPC councillor identified the pastor as A. Nakularasa who is serving a 7-year term. His case is still pending in the SL legal system, she said.

The other Tamil political prisoner subjected to brutal attack is 60-year-old T. Parameswaran who is serving a 5-year term imprisonment.

A fellow Tamil political prisoner, K. Kannan, who rushed to help the fainting victim, Mr Paramewaran, was also subjected to brutal attack.

The assistant jailor was abusing the Tamil prisoners using derogatory terms against their identity and alleged association with the LTTE in the past. Ananthy Sasitharan said the assistant jailor, known as Upul Deniya, has also been behind racial assaults on Tamil prisoners in the past.

“This is not the first time the Tamil prisoners are subjected to racial assault within the Anuradhapura prison. There have been several instances of such attacks in the recent past,“ she said.

According to Ms Ananthy’s source, four Sinhala prisoners with criminal background were put in the same cell, where 12 Tamil political prisoners were imprisoned.

The criminal prisoners continuously harassed the Tamil prisoners. The assistant jailor intervened on Wednesday and brutally assaulted the three Tamil prisoners after a dispute between the Sinhala and Tamil prisoners. Sinhala prisoners had complained to the jailor saying that the Tamil prisoners were using cell phones to communicate with the outside world. The jailor seized the phones from both Sinhala and Tamil inmates, but selectively assaulted the peaceful Tamil prisoners, Ms Ananthy said.

Such attacks have become a daily routine in the Sri Lankan prisons. But, not all the attacks get reported to the outside world, she said.

“These assaults remind us of genocidal massacres of the Tamil prisoners in the Sri Lankan jails in South since the 1983 pogrom,” Ms Ananthy told journalists in Jaffna on Friday.

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