Business Standard

Lanka minister quits after he threatens to kill Tamil prisoners

- PRESS TRUST OF INDIA Colombo, 15 September

Sri Lankan prisons minister Lohan Ratwatte (pictured) resigned on Wednesday after an uproar over his alleged remarks to kill Tamil prisoners during his recent visit to a jail in the island nation's north central region.

Ratwatte, the Minister of State for Prisons Management, tendered his resignatio­n after outrage from the Tamil political parties which sought his exit from the Cabinet and arrest over the remarks.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has accepted Ratwatte's resignatio­n, presidenti­al spokesman Kingsley Ratnayake said. Ratwatte went to the Anuradhapu­ra prison in the country's northern central region on September 12 and allegedly forced two prisoners to kneel and threatened to kill them, according to reports.

His act prompted the Tamil parties to condemn his behaviour and call for his resignatio­n.

“We call on the government to immediatel­y remove the state minister for prison management and have him arrested and charged after an immediate inquiry for allegedly threatenin­g to kill prisoners in Anuradhapu­ra on Sunday, September 12,” the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) tweeted.

Galen Ponnambala­m, the leader of the Tamil National People's Front, also tweeted and confirmed the incident.

"The TNPF can confirm that on the evening of September, 12 the state minister for prisons had gone to the Anuradhapu­ra prisons, summoned the Tamil political prisoners and had got two of them to kneel in front of him,” he said in a tweet.

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