Colombo, (PTI): Sri Lanka's Minister of State for Prisons Management Lohan Ratwatte tendered his resignation on Wednesday, days after he allegedly threatened to kill Tamil prisoners during his visit to the Anuradhapura prison in the country's northern central region, a senior official said.

Ratwatte's resignation came as pressure mounted on him after the Tamil political parties sought his resignation and arrest over the incident.

The resignation was accepted by the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Kingsley Ratnayake, the presidential spokesman, said.

Ratwatte allegedly went to the Anuradhapura prison on September 12 and forced two prisoners to kneel and threatened to kill them.

His act prompted the Tamil parties to condemn his behaviour and call for his resignation.

We call on the government to immediately remove the state minister for prison management and have him arrested and charged after an immediate inquiry for allegedly threatening to kill prisoners in Anuradhapura on Sunday, September 12, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said in a tweet.

Galen Ponnambalam, the leader of the Tamil National People's Front tweeted also confirmed the incident.

The TNPF can confirm that on the evening of September, 12 the state minister for Prisons had gone to the Anuradhapura prisons, summoned the Tamil political prisoners and had got two of them to kneel in front of him, he said in a tweet.

Ponnambalam said the minister had threatened to kill Tamil prisoners.

The local media reports alleged that the minister had visited the main prison in Colombo to show the gallows to a group of his friends late at night before heading to the north central town of Anuradhapura.

He was allegedly carrying his personal weapon into the prison which the prison officials said was an illegal act.

The relevant minister's office has denied any such incident involving the minister, the local media reports said.

The incident and act of the minister has also been condemned by the United Nations.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy said that it is the duty of the State to protect the rights of prisoners, the Colombo Gazette reported.

In our work on prison reform and drug rehabilitation, UN Sri Lanka works to strengthen capacities to uphold the rights of all those in custody and condemns any ill treatment of prisoners, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy tweeted on Wednesday.



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Chandigarh, Sep 20: Congress leader Sunil Jakhar on Monday questioned AICC general secretary Harish Rawat's reported statement that the upcoming state elections would be fought under the leadership of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Jakhar, who is also the former Punjab Congress chief, dubbed Rawat's statement as baffling, saying it is likely to undermine the authority of the chief minister.

On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats's statement that 'elections will be fought under Sidhu', is baffling. It's likely to undermine CM's authority but also negate the very 'raison d' tre' of his selection for this position, said Jakhar in a tweet.

Rawat had reportedly said that the Punjab Assembly polls next year will be fought under Sidhu.

Jakhar was one of the frontrunners for the post of new Congress Legislative Party leader after Amarinder Singh was nudged into quitting ostensibly over his failure to fulfil the promises made by the party in the 2017 assembly polls.

However, the Congress finally picked Channi for the post and it was learnt that Sidhu backed it.

Reacting to Jakhar's tweet, BJP leader Amit Malviya called it as huge insult to the Dalit community.

This is a huge insult to the entire Dalit community if Charanjit Singh Channi has been made the CM, only to hold the seat for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chosen Gandhi family loyalist. This completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative being peddled by the Congress. Shame, said Malviya in a tweet.