Govt won’t bow to unreasonable demands- Defence Secy | Sunday Observer
Hunger strike at Boossa high security prison:

Govt won’t bow to unreasonable demands- Defence Secy

13 September, 2020

Defence Secretary, Major General (Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne said the authorities would not bow down to unreasonable demands by incarcerated criminals. He was referring to the ongoing hunger strike at the Boossa high security prison led by underworld gangsters, Podi Lassie, Wele Sudha and other notorious underworld characters. “Those on hunger strike are the most dangerous criminals in this country,” he said, adding that the authorities are willing to consider fair demands by inmates.

“However, we will not give into unreasonable demands by them. That is a maximum security prison. Even if it’s the Commissioner General of Prisons, any person entering is checked thoroughly,” the Defence Secretary added.

The hunger strike launched by 40 inmates on Wednesday (9) continues for the fifth consecutive day. However, according to prison officials, 13 of the inmates have already given up the fast. The inmates are demanding that officials relax several security measures. These include the body search of visitors, inability to phone their relatives and stopping raids within the prison.

Janith Madushanka De Silva alias Podi Lassie and Tharaka Perera alias Kosgoda Tharaka, members of an organised criminal gang had recently made death threats on the Commissioner of Prisons, and other prison officers over the heightened security measures. Podi Lassie had openly threatened the prison officers, the President, Defence Secretary and their families with death. The Defence Secretary said he would not take up the post if he was afraid of such threats.

“We cannot work in these posts if we are afraid of such threats. We will do our utmost to ensure that the people of this country can live freely. Or else, this country has no future,” he said.

“Only one person, Dileepan, who went on a hunger strike had died in Sri Lanka. He did not die due to the hunger strike but from an illness he was already suffering from. All others who went on a hunger strike gave it up in a few days. They would adduce some reason and then stop the strike by accepting a glass of fruit juice,” Gunaratne said.

The Defence Secretary said this was a similar scenario. “They are being provided food but they are refusing it. A few are still refusing to eat, but they will probably do so in a few days so there is no issue,” he added.