It was indeed wedding of a different kind in the well-known jail that has been mostly in the news on account of the nearly three-decade-old conflict.
The bridegroom was a suspected 38-year-old cadre of LTTE and the bride his love for the last 14 years. The fact that the groom is serving a prison term which is to end only in 2015 did not come in the way of the marriage. The appeal of the groom against the sentence is pending disposal by a local court.
The authorities of the Welikada Magazine prison on the outskirts of Colombo made it a point to go out of their way to facilitate the wedding. The Superintendent of the prison had invited the whole battery of the local media reporters, photographers and cameramen to record for posterity the first of its kind wedding right inside the premises of the high security prison.
The groom is Ramaiah Raveendran, a resident of Maskeliya and the bride is 27-year-old Madhawan Ranjani from Nuwara Eliya in the hill country. Raveendran is sentenced to life imprisonment on November 10, 2003 and already served nearly seven years behind the bars. His appeal against the sentence is awaiting a decision.
The function was solemnised in the office of the prison the Superintendent's Office. A feast of sorts was organised inside the prison premises for relatives and friends of the newsly-weds.
According to the Superintendent of the Magazine Prison — Shelton Boteju though there had been occasions in the past of prisoners getting married while serving sentences, this was the first time a prisoner serving a life sentence got married.
The ceremony was held according to Hindu customs. The Registrar of Marriages of Borella, Manju Bhanu Kalinga, performed the official ceremony where the bride and groom exchanged garlands.
But alas though Raveedran and Ms. Ranjini are lawfully wedded, at the end of the marriage ceremony there was no home coming. The couple had to take leave of each other and while the groom walked back to his cell, the bride left the prison with her relatives to Nuwara Eliya.