President Maithripala Sirisena says he will work with a great commitment to change the social conditions which cause the background for the increasing of criminal activities.
The President made these remarks addressing a ceremony held at the ground of the Welikada Prison to grant Presidential Pardon for 762 inmates in view of the Vesak Poya Day, today (18).
This is the first time that a President of the country participated on such occasion, and the President also took steps to listen to the inmates.
President Sirisena said that he does not wish to see the inmates, who are releasing today, again in prison and said that he is ready to provide every possible assistance to rebuild their future. Accordingly, the President instructed the Commissioner General of Prisons to submit a report swiftly regarding the number of inmates, who are willing to do self-employment and the facilities they need.
The President always pays his attention to offer facilities for rehabilitation to the inmates and to build them as law abiding citizens. On January 08, 2016, the President took step to release a person convicted by the courts, for plotting to kill him. The President further expressing his views said that his aim is to not to fill the prisons, but to build all the citizens as better persons and to change the social background which causes to increase the criminal activities in the country.
Expressing his views regarding the programmes implemented by the government to provide vocational training for inmates and to utilize their labour productively, President Sirisena recalling his past experiences as an inmate, requested all to utilize the time period they spend as inmates to enhance their knowledge and skills.
The President handed over self- employment equipment to five inmates who were released today.
Meanwhile, the President took step to fulfill a request made by Mr.Lakmina Indika Bamunusinghe, who was an inmate. He completed his Master’s Degree while he was in prison and currently he is studying at the University of Kelaniya for his doctorate and he was a Sri Lankan Boxing champion in 2005 and he is expected to participate in the National Boxing Championship to be held this year. He requested the President to provide financial assistance to complete his thesis and to provide an opportunity to participate in the competition. President Sirisena agreed to provide the necessary money needed to complete the thesis and gave instructions to the Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms Thalatha Atukorale to look into the possibility of granting permission to participate in the competition and to do the needful.
Ministers and MPs, Secretary to the President Udaya R Senevirathne and others were present on this occasion.
The President also opened the Vesak Bath Dansala organized by the Buddhist Association of the Prison Department.