Nearly half of the inmates that commenced a hunger strike at the Boossa Prison have dropped out. Out of 45 around 20 have stopped the strike and consumed food according to prison officials. However, others are continuing their strike for the sixth consecutive day over several demands.
The inmates are demanding that officials relax a number of existing security measures. These include the body searches of visitors, not being able to make telephone calls to their relatives as well as the halting of raids within the prison. The hunger strike is being led by underworld figures Podi Lassie, Wele Sudha and a number of other notorious underworld members.
Commenting on the issue, the Secretary of Defence, Major General (Retd.) Kamal Gunaratne said authorities will not bow down to unfair demands being made by incarcerated criminals.
“Those on a hunger strike are the most dangerous criminals in this country,” he said adding that the authorities are willing to consider fair demands made by inmates. “However we will not give in to unfair demands being made by them. That is a maximum-security prison. Even if it’s the Commissioner General of Prisons, any person entering it is thoroughly checked.” the Defence Secretary added.
“Only one person who went on a hunger strike has ever died in Sri Lanka and that was Dileepan. He also died not due to the hunger strike but from an illness, he was already suffering from. All others whoever embarked on a hunger strike gave up in a matter of days. They would come up with some reason and then stop the strike by accepting a glass of fruit juice presented to them by someone” Gunaratne noted.
The Defence Secretary said this was a similar scenario. “They are being provided food but the issue is that they are refusing to consume it. Few are still refusing to eat. But they will probably eat in a matter of days so there is no issue” he added.