2nd Lead (Adds background)
RSF condemns Nadesan's murder
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 June 2004, 21:57 GMT]
The Paris based world media watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontieres) Tuesday condemned the murder of Tamil journalist Aiyathurai Nadesan in Batticaloa and voiced concern that "dissension within the Tamil separatist movement and existing tensions with the security forces could lead to an escalation of violation against the news media".
Following is the RSF statement:
"We call on the authorities to keep us informed of progress in the investigation into this new crime against the press, the organisation said.
Nadesan was gunned down as he was going to work at about 8:00 a.m. by two men on a motorcycle who got away. His body was taken to the local hospital where an autopsy was carried out.
The online news agency tamilnet.com said Nadesan worked for the daily Virakesari Tamil, the Tamil-language service of the London-based radio station IBC and several online media. He was known for criticising the Sri Lankan army and paramilitary groups in his weekly column in Virakesari Tamilšs Sunday edition.
His murder comes amid a resurgence of violence linked to a split within the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). After signing a cease-fire with the government, the LTTE is having to deal with the emergence of an armed breakaway faction. Nadesan was considered to be close to LTTE.
A prominent member of the local press, Nadesan received the prize for the best Tamil journalist in 2000. He was briefly detained in July 2001 and threatened by an army officer with prosecution under the Prevention of Terrorism Act because of his criticism of the government and the security forces. He was married and had three children.
Myilvaganam Nimalarajan, a Jaffna-based stringer for the Sinhala-language service of the BBC World Service, was killed in October 2000 at a time of tension within the different Tamil movements. Despite national and international pressure, his murder remains unpunished."
Meanwhile, Liberation Tigers have alleged that Mr. Nadesan's murder is part of a campaign by elements of the Sri Lanka Army against their cadres and intellectuals supporting their political stand in the Batticaloa-Amparai region.
The SLA is using several Tamil paramilitary groups, including the 'Karuna' group that recently broke away from the LTTE, in its campaign, the Tigers say. The head of the LTTE's political wing in Batticaloa-Amparai, Mr. E. Kausalyan, said in May, "Karuna's rebellion has become routine explanation for the attacks on [the LTTE]. But these are being organized by the Sinhala military.