Posters, gunmen threaten journalists in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 October 2004, 09:55 GMT]
Posters appeared in several parts of Batticaloa town Monday attacking the Liberation Tigers and warning local journalists against reporting on the LTTE. The posters are in the name of the paramilitary led by renegade LTTE commander Mr. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (Karuna). Meanwhile, the correspondent of a Tamil paper said that he was threatened by two gunmen Sunday evening around 6.30 in Batticaloa town. The paramilitary, 'Karuna Group' has been accused of murdering senior Tamil journalist Mr. Aiyathurai Nadesan in Batticaloa in May this year.

Mr. C. Chandraparakash, the Batticaloa correspondent and district office manager of the Tamil daily Thinakkural, said he was going home Sunday evening when two men riding a motorbike had stopped him by the road and had threatened him with a pistol, warning him not to cover LTTE functions in Batticaloa and not to publish statements issued by the Tigers.

The journalist said the motorbike had only a garage number plate.

Thousands of copies of Thinakkural were burnt by the renegade LTTE commander's men in March this year. The renegade commander banned mainstream Tamil daily papers when he controlled the eastern district for forty one days in March-April this year.

Three leading Tamil journalists in Batticaloa sought asylum in Switzerland after the renegade commander's associates gunned down their colleague and threatened them with death.

Informed sources in Batticaloa say that the paramilitary 'Karuna Group' operates in the eastern town with the assistance of the Sri Lanka army intelligence.

 

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