Feature Article

BBC reports wrongly about car park incident in Norway

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 August 2010, 08:37 GMT]
A minor violent incident, resulting from a dispute over parking car at a Tamil religious festival on Sunday in Oslo, Norway, was wrongly reported by BBC Sinhala as a clash between “rival factions supporting the Tamil Tigers.” Even though there was undue highlight, the Norwegian media reported the incident properly along with police report. But the BBC Sinhala.com, citing the Norwegian media and police, mischievously came out with imaginary additions, Tamil circles in Oslo commented. Just a few days back Parameswaran who won a libel case against two British newspapers commented how people are gullible to what comes in the English media. What went wrong with the BBC Sinhala Service that had progressive Sinhalese in the staff, diaspora circles wonder.

There was a deliberate twist in the BBC Sinhala.com reporting in linking the incident to a fighting between the factions it imagine as those of Nediyavan and KP, Tamil circles in Norway pointed out.

The BBC Sinhala.com went further in wrongly reporting that the ‘fight’ erupted late Saturday night, and it exaggerated in saying that the injured was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.

Panchakulasingam Kandiah
Dr. Panchakulasingam Kandiah
Abusing the news that an injured in the incident is a member of the Norwegian Council of Eezham Tamils (NCET), the BBC news service was vicious in projecting the democratically elected NCET as a “pro-Tamil Tiger group led by Nediyavan,” said Dr. Panchakulaingham Kandiah, president of the NCET.

Norwegian authorities are well aware that Nediyavan became politically inactive even before the formation of the NCET.

Such false news reporting with BBC label provides base and ‘authenticity’ for ‘counter insurgency’ writers to spin their stories, Tamil circles pointed out.

Diaspora institutions like temples have to be extra careful in organising functions, when commanders of the genocidal army of Sri Lanka are roaming in the garb of diplomats with a network to twist the struggle of the diaspora, Tamil circles in Norway cautioned.

The Chariot Festival of the Murukan Temple at Oslo was celebrated on Sunday. It was the highlight of the ten-day annual festival that will be culminating on Monday with Water-Cutting festival falling on the new moon of July-August (Aadi-Amaavaasai). Thousands of the diaspora Eezham Tamil community in Oslo have gathered for the festival on Sunday.

BBC Sinhala
The report filed by BBC Sinhala service on 08 August 2010
According to onlookers, when an Eezham Tamil man who came with his family wanted to park his Cadillac car at a particular spot it was objected as wrong parking by the volunteers who were regulating the car parking. In the ensuing dispute a senior volunteer, an IT engineer, had a bleeding slit injury on the head. Three men in the car were also attacked.

The Norwegian Telegram Byrå (NTB) reported that police in Oslo arrested three men.

Thomas Pedersen of the crime watch of the Oslo police who was on duty told NTB that a car driver was alerted by a voluntary guard at the temple site that the car had been parked wrongly. When it was pointed out, there was a violent response, Mr. Pedersen told the NTB.

Those charged were between the age of 20 and 40, according to the Norwegian police.

Although three men in the car also sustained injuries, the police was of the opinion that it was they who had started the violence against the three guards, the NTB further reported. There were no serious injuries. One of the volunteers was sent to Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, with injuries in the head, possibly a knife slit. One was sent to medical post and the third was treated at the site of the incident.

Meanwhile, the chief of police operations in Oslo told NTB that the police had detailed information. There are witness-reports and video film of the episode at the parking site, according to the police.

The incident took place around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Operations chief Finn Belle told another newspaper that he didn’t know about the festival in advance, but the area police at Stovner was aware of the festival.

Dagbladet, a reputed newspaper in Norway, reported that the police had withdrawn from the site after attending the episode and that the festival continued peacefully.

According to those who were present at the site, batons and a minor knife were used in the clash. Tension prevailed at the corner of the temple, where the chariot festival was taking place.

One of the wounded who is an IT engineer has been in charge of volunteer regulators of car parking for several years during the festival time. He was also an activist of The Economic Consultancy House (TECH) Norway and a recently elected member of the Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (NCET). He returned from the hospital a few hours later and attended the festival for a short time.

Around 2,500 worshippers including children and elders were present at the festival.


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