Wholesale attack on Jaffna newspapers
[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 June 2009, 01:36 GMT]
All the local newspapers of Jaffna that defied publishing an anonymous and defiling notice against the LTTE came under attack by an armed group in the early hours of Thursday. The notice was brought out in the name of 'Tamil Front Protecting the Country' allegedly linked to a paramilitary group operating with Colombo. Thousands of copies of the local newspapers, Valampuri, Uthayan and Thinakkural (Jaffna edition), were burnt down wholesale in huge flames by the armed group allegedly operated by the Sri Lankan military intelligence at Aanaippanthi and Kannathiddi junctions at 5:00 a.m. Thursday, while the newspapers were being taken for distribution.
The distribution workers were also brutally attacked.
A distribution worker of Thinakkural, 26-year-old Anojan, who was physically attacked was also robbed of his belongings by the armed men.
Newspaper editors of Jaffna were intimidated to publish the notice and warned of dire consequences the previous day through anonymous telephone calls. However, the editors sceptical of the contents of the notice decided not to publish it.
After the burning of the Eezhanaadu newspaper along with the public library in 1981 by the Sri Lankan forces, and again the burning of Eezhanaadu by the Indian military (IPKF), this is the third major burning of the newspapers of Jaffna by occupying forces.
In 1981, the burning of the public library and the newspaper office took place while two of Colombo's ministers were present in Jaffna and it is alleged they had a direct hand in orchestrating that. The present attack on newspapers took place when Sri Lanka's Education Minister and General Secretary of Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling UPFA alliance, Susil Premajayantha and Social Welfare Minister Douglas Devandanda were camping in Jaffna.