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Last updated: 28 November, 2011 - Published 15:37 GMT
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Tamil prisoners on hunger strike
An ambulance in front of Anuradhapura prison after a riot (file photo)
Prisoners say they were stripped naked before taken out and assaulted
At least 65 Tamil prisoners in Anuradhapura are on a hunger strike seeking proper protection.

The prisoners have launched a protest after being assaulted by the prison officials on Sunday, former Jaffna district parliamentarian MK Sivajilingam told BBC Sandeshaya.

Most of the prisoners subjected to assault were disabled during the war, he added.

Mr Sivajilingam said jail guards have also destroyed a Hindu Temple built inside the prison with permission.

Superintendant of Police (SP) Tusita Uduwara has held discussions with the prisoners but the prisoners demand a guarantee of their by higher authorities that such attacks would not occur in the future.

Government response

The authorities have prevented a team of lawyers and representatives of We Are Sri Lankans (WASL) organisation from entering the prison, they said.

WASL's Udul Premaratne has told media that it was the first time the lawyers were prevented from visiting the prison to look into an incident.

Prison Affairs Minister Chandrasiri Gajadheera said the incident has occurred as the authorities conducted a search after receiving information that there were plans to commemorate annual Heroes Day inside the premises.

After the search, said the minister, 19 mobile telephones have been confiscated.

He rejected the accusation that the prisoners were ordered to strip naked and taken out while it was raining for the search.

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