Sri Lanka police officer assaults Tamil journalist in Jaffna

By Athula Vithanage

A Tamil journalist has been admitted to hospital after he was assaulted by a senior police officer on Tuesday (19) in Jaffna.

Journalist Kugarajah Nadarajah of DAN TV said he was attacked by the acting Officer-in- Charge (OIC) of Kopay police station E G Gunaratne, while he was covering a suspected arson attack on a house in Kokuvil.

'I rushed to the scene after receiving the news about the attack," told Kugarajah from his hospital bed in the Jaffna teaching hospital.

"There were about 10 police officers. I was warned by one of them not to go near the crime scene. So, I kept my distance and started filming. Then the same police officer walked up to me and punched me in the face. He threatened to arrest me, if I didn't move out."

Kugarajah had lodged a complaint at the Jaffna police station.

The suspect police officer produced before the Jaffna magistrate court was granted bail with a Rs. 50,000 surety.

Trend of intimidation

The attack on journalist Kugarajah is the latest of  in a series of similar acts of intimidation targeting Tamil journalists in the former war zone.

 A week before, Tamil freelance journalist Selvaraja Sumanthan was threatened by an army major in Mullaithivu while he was covering a protest organised by local residents.

In October, Tamil journalist Uthayarasa Shalin was also threatened and intimidated by the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) officers in Jaffna.

The international media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issuing a statement warned that such acts of intimidation against journalists  "recall the worst period of persecution of Sri Lanka’s Tamil journalists”.☐




Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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