Local News | Colombo: The Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said the Police Special Task Force (STF) had deployed in outer perimeters of the Welikada Prison and Colombo Remand Prison to strengthen security from today (Aug 24).
He said the decision was taken, especially to provide more protection to these prisons, to thwart illegal activities – smuggling drugs and using mobile phones to operate crimes from prison cells.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said prison guards had detected drugs, SIM cards and mobile phones from Welikada Prison, which is Sri Lanka’s largest prison which includes the Magazine Prison, Welikada Prison, Prison Hospital and Remand Prison, daily.
Defence Secretary said the smugglers kept on operating illegal activities amidst tight security inside these prisons and it was found later that those illegal items enter into prisons as there were some loopholes at prisons entry points.
“This was revealed when we adopted the new system that integrated all related intelligence apparatus including prison’s intelligence unit, to work together to find the loopholes in prisons”, he said.
He said STF had already been deployed to maintain security in the Agunakolapalessa Prison.
According to the Defence Secretary, all gates of the Welikada Prison would be manned by the STF soldiers to prevent drugs, SIM cards and other illegal items entering the prison from today.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne, addressing a gathering at the 25th Anniversary of the Sri Lanka Army’s 53 Division organized by 53 Division Commander Maj. Gen. Priyantha Senarathne at Dambulla, said prison’s officials were empowered more to conduct investigations inside prisons with the support of the STF.
While reiterating President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s directives to eliminate drug menace, organized crimes and extortions, the Defence Secretary said no one would be able to walk freely in the country if this situation continued for about four-five years.
“Sri Lanka would have been facing a similar situation like in Somalia”, he said.
He said all those measures were complied with President’s vision to create a safe country for all citizens of the country.
He extended his gratitude to the 53 Division Commander for inviting him as the Chief Guest of victorious 53 Division’s 25th Anniversary.
Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said he was the happiest to stand at the event as the 15th 53 Division Commander who contributed with immense pride and led the national task of eliminating the brutal terrorism from the Sri Lankan soil during a challenging period.
“I believe that both my Regiment – the Gajaba Regiment and the 53 Division- bear the equal part of the honour that I enjoy today as the Defence Secretary”, he said recalling the significance of the Division in eradicating the 30-year-long war and bringing a lasting peace to the Motherland.
Plaques were exchanged between Maj. Gen. Gunaratne and Maj. Gen. Senarathne.
Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Army’s senior officers including Chief of Staff and a large gathering were present at the event.