An LTTE suspect, who was taken to Anuradhapura jail following a hostage-taking incident at the Vavuniya jail last Friday, died at the Ragama hospital near Colombo on Wednesday, allegedly because he was beaten black and blue by the police.
The Tamil media reported that the victim was Nimilaroopan from Nelukkulam in Vavuniya district. Six other LTTE detainees, who had been taken to Anuradhapura along with Nimilaroopan, were undergoing treatment at Mahara prison hospital.
TNA MPs, who visited the injured prisoners, called for an impartial probe into the death of Nimilaroopan, and the violence unleashed on the detainees. Minister of Prisons Chandrasiri Gajadheera, however, said that Nimilaroopan died of a heart attack.
Government spokesperson and Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena said the fracas at Vavuniya prison in which 38 LTTE suspects took three prison guards hostage indicated that the LTTE was still active in the island and that it had support from outside the country.
“The Vavuniya incident was the roar of the Tiger,” he said.
Sirisena suspected that Tamil expatriates like V Rudrakumaran, who calls himself Prime Minister of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, were behind the prison incident. According to Sirisena there are about 500 LTTE cadre in the island who are preparing to re-launch the movement for a separate Tamil Eelam.
Tamil leaders and rights activists, including Nimalka Fernando, Siritunga Jayasuriya, Mano Ganesan, Suresh Premachandran and Mavai Senathirajah met on Wednesday to discuss the question of LTTE detainees, the majority of whom have been in prison for years without being charged.