EPDP leader critically injured

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 June 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Eelam Peoples' Democratic Party (EPDP) leader Douglas Devanda was critically injured when he was stabbed by a group of priosners today at the Kalutara prison around 6:00 p.m., said Ms. Maheswari Velayutham, Secretary for the Forum for Human Dignity who accompanied Mr. Devanda.

He had visited the prison to see for himself the condition of Tamil prisoners who are staging a fast unto death protesting the delay over their cases being taken up for trial.

Mr. Devanda is unconscious and bleeding from the nose, she said.

He was taken to the Nagoda Hospital and is about to be transferred to the National Hospital in Colombo.

Ms. Velayutham said the detainees were armed with knives.

EPDP leader Douglas Devanda was going from ward to ward offering water to the fasting prisoners before he was attacked in ward B, the last ward he visited, said sources in Colombo.

He had offered water to the prisoners and exhorted them to end the fast.

In prison B he was suddenly surrounded by the prisoners who stabbed him with improvised weapons reported to be hooks made to hold down the ceiling of their cells.

In the melee Ms. Velayutham who had accompanied Mr. Devannda was dragged by the detainees but freed later by the detainees themselves.

The guards who had rushed on to the scene had to open fire to disperse the crowd, said sources.

 

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