20 June, 2024


Welikada Prison Massacre/Riot; Cover-Up under Climate Of Fear

  • First Committee of Inquiry erased eyewitness testimony
  • Top officials were terrified the truth will out
  • Controversial IP denies everything
  • IP claims possibility of future arrest

By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody and Kavindya Chris Thomas

Necrosis is defined in the clinical terms of the Greeks, as a stage of cellular death, occurring within living tissue, and caused by an act of killing. The abstract notion of truth too is far too often afflicted by this pathology.

As far as the 2012 Welikada Magazine Prison massacre/riot is concerned there have been two separate Committees of Inquiry that were established with regard to investigating the controversial events which took place on 09 and 10 November, 2012, which claimed the lives of 27 prisoners. These two Committees, appointed in two autonomous time periods have behaved in a self contained manner; while one, as Ceylon Today learns, intentionally obscured eyewitness testimonies, the other focused on footling matters.

The first Committee, appointed immediately right after the initial incident, on 10 November, 2012, by then Minister of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Chandrasiri Gajadeera, and comprised of retired High Court Judge Bandula Atapattu (Chair of the Committee), former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Gunasena Thenabadu and former Legal Advisor to the Ministry of Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Lalith Andrahennadi. The final report went through numerous delays and was finally released during the latter part of 2013. And even so, the report came under immense criticism for its echo chamber like effect in propagating the myth of the riot.

CT obtained information in the form of recorded telephone conversations between a former prisoner, Sahan Hewadalugodage who was an unintentional eyewitness to the atrocities that occurred on 09 and 10 November, 2012, and a Prison Guard named Madushanka.

The telephone conversation between Hewadalugodage and Madushanka took place on 28 January, 2015. Madushanka, according to Hewadalugodage, is a witness to the assault and subsequent execution of several inmates on the days in question. “He was the one who told us that some of the inmates were picked out from a list of names (‘the kill list’) and were taken out to be gunned down,” Hewadalugodage recalled.

As the conversation continues, Madushanka highlights that a clear culture of fear was seeping into play among the top officials who allegedly masterminded, perpetrated and aided and abetted in the inmate culling that took place at Welikada, three years ago. 

Such is the context; the conversation happens 10 days prior to the second Committee of Inquiry into the Welikada incident is established. According to Madushanka, who was interviewed by the Atapattu Committee of 2012, the Committee had intentionally covered up his testimony of the events that occurred in Welikada.

Madushanka claims: “Emil Ranjan (a reference to former Welikada Magazine Prison Superintendent Emil Ranjan Lamahewage who had allegedly led the Special Task Force {STF} and other Military officers who executed the 27 inmates. One such inmate, Devamullage Malik Sameera Perera a.k.a. Konda Amila (Convict Q – 21517) had previously lodged a complaint through his mother against Lamahewage at the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka {HRCSL}) asked me not mention his name to the upcoming Committee because he is afraid that if his name is mentioned, he too will have to testify. Even Kudabandara (P.K.W. Kudabandara is a Class I Jailor who was the Chief Jailor present inside the Prison complex on the days of the incident) said he was going to tell the truth to the Committee. He (a reference to Kudabandara) has to give evidence because he was inside the place when the incident took place. My statements were Tippexed (Tippex is a type of correction fluid used to erase anything on paper including words) last time. They are all terrified. This should happen. This is good.”

Whether or not Madushanka was present in person to witness the alleged deletion of portions of his testimony is not known and remains a legitimate query in the minds of the authors that is unanswered and requires further investigation.

As the conversation continues, Hewadalugodage questions Madushanka as to why the latter’s oral evidence was censored. “It was all censored by the Department of Prisons Head Office. That report (the Atapattu Committee findings) has no transparency. Top Government officers were afraid during that time. They wanted to cover it up obviously.”

Madushanka who had confided in Hewadalugodage on several occasions has also been intimidated by top echelon officers. He on one occasion had been kidnapped and tortured by supposed officers of the Army Intelligence. In the recording, Madushanka says: “During that period, they did everything they could. If they treated me, an Official, that way, you can imagine what they would do to you. Now things seem to have changed but who can tell what will happen. They have their phantoms.”

CT’s numerous attempts to contact Prison Official Madushanka directly, failed since he was unreachable.

The second Committee, to which Madushanka has supposedly given evidence to, was established on 18 February, 2015, by the then Minister of Justice President’s Counsel Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and comprised of retired High Court Judge Wimal Nambuwasam (Chairman of the Committee), retired DIG Asoka Wijetilleke and retired administrative official, attorney-at-law S.K. Liyanage. Their report which included several eyewitness records has now paved the way for victim compensation programmes as well as a criminal investigation into the incident. The investigation, informing the Colombo Fort Magistrate earlier this year, has (ironically) reiterated almost all the details and findings the mainstream media has published regarding the State sponsored tragedy, but only six years later.

Meanwhile, an Inspector of Police (IP) attached to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB also known colloquially as the Narcotic) against whom many allegations have been levelled with regard to his involvement in the killing of prisoners in the 2012 Welikada Prison massacre/riot, when contacted by CT, said that he was not authorized to speak without obtaining the Inspector General of Police’s permission in prior.

However, although he did not even want to be cited as an anonymous source, he on his own volition spoke at length to the authors without prompting, and answered our queries which were made based on what he spoke of, which he said was solely for the purpose of our knowledge, expounding on his version of the events. His narrative, incidentally, puts a different spin on this serpentine narrative.

Firstly, despite two eyewitnesses, former prisoners (one of whom filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal seeking an investigation into the murders) and a jailor who were in close proximity, placing him directly at the scene of the killing of prisoner E. Thushara Chandana a.k.a. Kalu Thushara (Remand 4230), he flatly denied being in the premises of the Welikada Magazine Prison on 09 and 10 November, 2012.

As per the eyewitness account the said IP had “grabbed a hold of Thushara like someone who saw something he liked to eat – ‘Me inne baande (here is the goods)’, he said. Thushara then shouted, ‘Rangajeewa mahaththayo (Mr. Rangajeewa)’, don’t kill me’,” and as per the said jailor’s account Thushara had shouted, “‘Sir, don’t kill me. I have two daughters,’”: all of which the IP denied. 

Furthermore, he flatly denied any involvement of the PNB in the events, attributing such instead to the Army and the STF.

“I was not there. I don’t have any involvement in this incident. I was not a part of this mission nor was the PNB. There was not even a PNB dog involved in this. No officers have said that I as alleged have been part of conferences conducted at Welikada in relation to conspiring to kill prisoners. I saw it on television, after my wife informed me, telling me not to go anywhere near the place, as previously a couple of months before the events being referred to, there was a major incident of a similar nature. My wife is willing to testify to my non-involvement in this issue at any forum.”

His view was that only four or five persons (including the two former prisoners and the aforementioned jailor) out of approximately 3,700 individuals (including prisoners, Prison officials on duty on the two days, Army, STF and media personnel) questioned in relation to the incident and from whom statements had been obtained in this regard, had levelled allegations against him of his involvement in the affair. Regarding a jailor whom he identified as being Kudabandara, he said he did not wish to reveal the stories concerning him but would instead sort out the matter in the context of a judicial proceeding.

He added that the presumption of innocence afforded to him had been suspended with regard to him, in particular when he was being made mention of in the media.

On the question of various acts of intimidation including death threats and shootings faced by a eyewitness who publicly testified about the Welikada incident and a lawyer appearing on behalf of the latter in the aforementioned Court of Appeal case, he said that he possessed no knowledge of such alleged acts and suggested that such alleged acts of intimidation could have also been self-orchestrated.

“Everything is connected to money. What can’t these prisoners, some on death row and former prisoners, some of whom are Sinhala koti (a reference to Sinhalese persons with pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam sympathies), say? What do they have to lose? Some of these Sinhalese Tigers conspired against the State and the Government, from the jungles of Mullaitivu, engaging in terrorist activities. During inquiries held in this regard in 2012 and the following period until 2015, they could have at least voiced their suspicion about me, at least to a Magistrate. Yet, they didn’t. Not a word was uttered. Instead, they get together in 2015, and tell the same tale. Those who write, listen and parrot out what they say. How can the writers question? What do they know beforehand about the matter?.” 

According to the IP, the reason as to why he is being targeted since 2015 (three years after the events), was because he is an officer that cannot be controlled by the drug cartels. “I don’t eat and drink with them.”

As per the IP, he was responsible for over 40 cases (specifically 42 cases of successfully obtaining the death penalty against cartel members, he said) concerning drug lords where he had arrested suspected drug barons (he named the convict going by the nom de guerre of Wele Suda, and elsewhere drug kingpins like Ratgama Vidura and Wasantha Mendis), large scale traffickers and their henchmen and nabbed large quantities of heroin (ranging from 10 kilos to 400).

“If I deal drugs or steal, and earn money in this fashion, then all I need is a desk and a chair. There is an allegation against me that I aid and abet certain narco-traffickers while I hunt after others. If so, am I the only IP or Superintendent of Police catching drug dealers? Others too can catch these people. I am the one who has caught the most amount of drugs in this country. For days on end I go to the Courts regarding these issues. Why should I murder them? Am I mad to kill? I have no personal animosity with any of them. I am only doing my job.” In an aside, he also indicated of the possibility of him being arrested in relation to the Welikada incident at a future date.

CT previously reported that Thushara had been apprehended and remanded for the possession of a quantity of heroin which he had brought into the country along with a stock of gold. It was claimed subsequently that the arresting Officer Rangajeewa had not returned the gold in question, a Court production, following Thushara’s arrest, and nor had the gold been produced in Court. Thushara had subsequently filed a complaint cum case against the officer at the HRCSL.

He further denied any knowledge of Thushara, adding that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had on several occasions obtained statements from him with regard to his alleged involvement in the incident and that he had furnished evidence (oral evidence from relevant officers, technical evidence and evidence pertaining to the probability or rather improbability of him being there on the particular days) to the CID attesting to and allegedly proving his non-involvement (according to him also a fact which had been confirmed by higher officials of the STF and the Army in their evidences). According to the IP, he had even volunteered to hand over his weapon and the weapons of his PNB team to the Government Analyst’s Department thereby assisting in the investigations conducted in this regard. He however added that since the incident, no commission or committee established in this regard, had summoned him for questioning.

“I have never caught Thushara let alone seen him in person and neither has the PNB been involved in his arrest. We at the PNB don’t even have a proper photograph of him. I have only seen one with him bare-chested, donning a sarong. What then is the alleged problem I have with him? How then could I search for him in a cell in the pitch dark with the lights out?.” In what Police station in the country is there no case against Thushara, he queried, challenging the authors to find details regarding such from Thushara’s parents.   

“I don’t know of any so called ‘kill list’. Only those who died and those who speak of this are aware of such. The truth will come out one day. However, by that time all that needs to have happened would have taken place.”

Related posts:

Part -1 : 2012 Welikada Prison Massacre

Part -2 : “I Was An Eyewitness To Kalu Thushara’s Murder At 2012 Welikada Prison Bloodbath,” – Sudesh Nandimal Silva

Part -3 : Former Welikada Prison Official Testifies About The 2012 Massacre

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Latest comments

  • 12

    We have an ugly and bloody history we should be ashamed about, and we have thugs and criminals that have yet to answer to this, and many other murders. There seems to be no law and order in this country. Criminal leaders, and their murdering thugs, seem to always get away with the worst crimes.

    • 9

      President Maithripala Sirisena We don’t want your cabinet reshuffle we want you to take action against the Rajapaksa Criminals Network as you promised at the 2015 Elections…

      Enough of this “Game of Shape”(Cover up)

      Collusion all around all we see is a few arrested to create a public drama that action is being taken with no arrests and prosecutions of the mastermind/s behind all these crimes…

      Who are these people protecting the Rajapaksa Criminal Network


      • 2

        What would happen to Sirisena when Rajapaksas come back to power in 2 years? Would you stick you neck out to save Sirisena???? its very easy for everybody to hide in an underground bunker and scream at Sirisena

    • 5

      Sri Lanka is a dangerous country as it is composed of individual power holding division of the state controlled by a gang of evil, corrupt to the core, murderers driven Mafia who knows the secrets of the ruling elites and the minions (ministers) who are themselves complicit in crimes, that which is held as a point of ransom. Since, these gangsters did carry out the biddings of the ruling cabal for which the price the state has to pay is IMPUNITY. Champika Ranawaka is one such evil psychopathic criminal who use this type of intimidation to further his racist agenda for which he is getting paid by the Tel Aviv evil axis of the Zionist enterprise. Sri Lanka is a fascist system fashioned fakely as democracy in its outward appearance. The Western Zionist camp has enslaved the population through these political criminals who is helping out by borrowing endless loans from the Jewish owned IMF and the World Bank and the borrowed money is wasted on dummy projects to syphon off billions that goes into the pockets of these racist run political order. The people are fooled million times with fake election processes that brings the same criminals back into power like they are in the musical chair contest. Next criminal in waiting is GOTA. He is being mooted by the Zionists to take over the reign so that another round of loans and wasteful activities begin in a more dangerous levels as he is the ultimate psychopathic maniac who is essential to the Zionists to achieve their goals….. Which is chaos…. and depopulation through conflicts. Muslims will be massacred like in Burma. Wait for the show people.

      • 2

        So, coming to the main topic of the Welikada prisons massacre, its a well coordinate operation conducted by the state, vis-a-vis Gota’s murder project perpetrated the human population this time under context of a dedignated area…the prison. This is one such mass murder that Gota carried out without any fear of him being prosecuted in the future in any way by anyone or by any system prevalent in this shitty country. His protection is massive. He is a US citizen, meaning that he is a Direct Zionist agent who has the access to the state power and its functions that can be always manipulated to his favour. This is coming under a huge network of criminals, led by US, EU, Israel and the UN. Thats why these guys getting scot free everytime when they happen to face the UNHRC sessions. The UN gave them green light to massacre the Tamils and afterwhich showed a big drama of passing resolutions for Human Rights violations which are dud activities that has no power to punish these criminals. Its the Agenda 21 of the UN which being played in the South Asia by India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka. To get a clear idea on whats being going on in these countries, David Icke has a nice youtube video under the title “AGENDA 21, The plan to kill you”(The human population) is a must to be watched. Its about how the Mega Global Deep State is using Ruling Elites to implement the Zionist depopulation agenda to kill billions of people of the world.

      • 2

        The involvement of the STF in the state terrorism conducted against the citizens (tax payers) is of a massive crime that even the justice system and judiciary has to answer for. How do they escape prosscution???? who is helping them to get off the hook in the Judiciary???? The problem of the Sri Lankan system is that many of the criminals in the mainstresm political parties are coming from the Justice system. They are crooks and cooks at the same time. They are the law breakers and the defenders of the criminals. The system can be cosidered dangerously corrupt when it is connected with the Justice system. Gnanasara getting the WORLD’s FASTEST BAIL tells everything. He burned the country many many times and yet he is a free bird and he has everready Sinhala Govi controlled Media to air his views and his opinions given a priority than to his victims is all a tell tale sign of this huge Zionist Agenda working from behind. Japan, a country owned by the Zionist US, giving residence Visa status to a thick racist infamous for conducting massive anti minority pogrom, is a unique example to understand the dynamics of the Global Deep State manipulations which is going on currently and smoothly under our very noses, is a case for extreme concern.

        • 2

          The recently concluded NCM against Ranil is a big fat fart let by system which is unbearable and deplorable even think that how these criminal Elite lot have taken the masses as some collective bunch of donkeys. The ruling Elite Mafia do not know that there are few who can think smarter than them outsmarting their garbage news with wit and creative explanation to many of their political drama scenes they act on and off. The Sri Lankan fascist state wanted a drama to wade off criticism afterwhich it was found guilty of involvement in the ISRAELI contracted ANTI ISLAMIC / ANTI MUSLIM RIOTS that was conducted succesfully by the Agent Champika Ranawaka with the full backing of the BUDDHIST RELIGIOUS HEIRARCHY rendering its full weight by upholding Gnanasara doctrine as a fact and a mission of utmost important, RAJAPAKSE criminal family organising the gangs and financing the “Sinhala Nationalist” terrorists, Maithree renedering support of the STATE TERROR FORCES ( STF) as bodyguards to the mobs to give clearance of the areas without any victim attempting to defend their lives and properties and giving their expertise to conduct a swift military style attack against the section of the TAX PAYING CITIZENS of country, and Ranil and the entire members of parliament keeping their silence until the entire Muslims in Kandy gets everything they own burnt down (excepting the Muslim MPs who spoke with disgust of this ugly state terror). The state wanted to show the world that this country has a functioning democratic system and there is actually a gap and a difference between the two mainstream political parties with rifts and animosities (SLFP/ UNP/MPP/ JVP) which is untrue and the entire Sinhala Political parties are one in the Agenda of Sinhala Only Fascism. They want to keep the belief of the population intact in election process which a big FAKERY. They are all one, run by ine set of thieves and mass murderers who have fooled everyone throughout a span of 07decades.

  • 8

    Yes! Yes ! Catch them all. The torturers of the time !! They were and are the Enemies of the minorities and the enemies of Rajapukkas cronies.
    All will be out soon. All the ills of Torture , Murder, Extorsion , and Fear, of talking ,writing etc will be out soon.
    Karma is a Bitch .
    The Modamulla a terrorists will be netted before long. Then only this country can move forward.
    The spirits of the dead are stronger than any cover up or Tipexing.
    What goes round comes round.
    Watch my words.
    The Butcher Clan and the Followers need to face the music.
    For that their hold in the society , in the Politics should be STRIPPED.

    For my country to move forward it has to happen , A CLOSURE THATS PUNISHMENT FOR SURE BY LAW,
    No Official Documents should be Tipexxed!!
    That law itself has been violated here by the Law Enforcers of SL.

  • 10

    Why haven’t you reported the unruly incident which took place in front of the News First media merchant’s premises?

    The usual noisy lumpen mob (democrats) was seen celebrating Dr Ranil’s victory. Among them two key UNP organizers were seen participating (or perhaps organising) in the celebrations as if it was a victory to democracy.

    By the way is Dayan the public racist celebrating his victory with Dr Mahinda (LLD + 3 PhD)?

  • 4

    STF has a record of killing citizens from its inception, with headquarters at Narahenpita.
    When bodies were found floating in Beira and other waterways around Colombo with plastic handcuffs on them – issued only to STF – 22 STF members were arrested and charged in court.
    The case was never heard as on each date, the state counsel were absent, and the case was deleted from the roster.
    This established a sense of impunity which persists to this day.

  • 4

    Prison administration is still weak and corrupt – else how do some convicts fall ‘sick’ on admission and are favoured with ‘hospital’ treatment.
    The minister appears reluctant to interfere.

  • 3

    Politicians may Come and politicians may Go But crime goes on for ever in Srlanka.
    The ‘anonymous’ authors of the crime are the same ‘WHO CRY HALT”and pretend to be Lord Buddha’s disciples.

  • 1

    Who did kill these innocent devotees while they r observing their seela program in the Welkada?

  • 5

    President is the leader in covering up this inquiry, if not he would have appointed Sarath Fonseka as Minister of Law and Order. Its time the back bench UNPers force the PM and the President to appoint Sarath Fonseka during the reshuffle of the cabinet. If the President does not appoint, as PM has nominated Fonseka, that alone is enough for the UNP back benchers to bring about an impeachment motion to the Parliament as its a violation of the constitution. President is protecting murderers, rogues, rapists and drug king pins. President is the one who brought even those who were rejected by the voters into the Parliament and gave them ministerial positions!

  • 3

    Thank you Ruwan Laknath Jayakody and Kavindya Chris Thomas for the investigative journalism – the first of its kind in SL. The officials involved had stupidly assumed that the impunity they enjoyed at that time was permanent.
    More frightening is the fact that a climate has evolved in which the one in power will have the ability to protect anyone they choose to. Serving the people is the last thing in their minds.

  • 1

    Thanks Laknath & Kavindya.
    This is necessary reading, but please permit me to put it off for tomorrow. I don’t want nightmares.
    I was sent a link to Part One. It was horrible. But clearly all this must be read by all.

  • 0

    Best criminal is a dead criminal. This is how President Lee Kuan Yew thought when he started

  • 0

    If there was all that vim and vigor in looking into the bond scam why not this? MY 3 the great who has any explanation for anything, should be able to appoint persons of that capability to get the truth out. Every second he silent is an implication that this matter of loss of life is of low priority for him.

  • 2

    …’My statements were Tippexed (Tippex is a type of correction fluid used to erase anything on paper including words) last time’….

    We must Thank the authors for defining Tippex for the benefit of the younger electronic generation.

    Brings back memories of so many records (before the invention of Word) that were masterfully doctored using the ubiquitous white stuff. Many perfected the art of ‘tippexing’ only to discover later that all would be revealed under forensic lighting.

    The truth is that evidence of bad things are very difficult to hide.

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