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* Sri Lanka main opposition asks for parliamentary probe into Welikada Prison riot
Sun, Nov 11, 2012, 07:51 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National party (UNP) on Sunday called for the parliament to appoint a select committee to probe the recent riot at the main Welikada Prison in Colombo.

The UNP handed over a motion to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa calling for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the Friday's deadly riot at the country's largest and most crowded prison. Friday's clash resulted in the in the deaths of 27 inmates and injured 43 others. Among the injured were 13 STF officers including the commanding officer of the STF team and a prison official.

Chief Opposition Whip, John Amaratunga told the media that the Welikada Prison riot was of an enormous magnitude resulting in a number of deaths and injuries and the loss of 250 rifles according to the Prisons Reforms Minister.

He questioned how the government could govern a country when there's chaos in the prison.

According to prison officials inmates at the prison have pelted stones at a Special Task Force (STF) police team that was called in to search for drugs and mobile phones in the prisoners' possession. The inmates have then taken up arms after breaking into the prison armory and fired at the officials resulting in the gun battle.

The motion requesting for a PSC had been signed by John Amaratunga, legislators Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Sujeewa Senasinghe and Vijayakala Maheshwaran.

The proposed PSC is to inquire into the cause of the riot, what sparks prison riots so frequently, the long standing issues that affect prison discipline and steps that need to be taken to prevent such occurrences.

The government has appointed a high-powered three-member committee to investigate the incident and the Criminal Investigations Department of police is conducting its own investigation.

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