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TV channel complex attacked, Rajapaksa orders probe

[Hindu, Tuesday, 6 January 2009 21:12 No Comment]

A private Sri Lankan TV channel was attacked with hand grenades and set on fire today allegedly due to its "unpatriotic" coverage of the war against Tamil rebels.


Around 20 armed men in a white van with covered number plates attacked the studio and control room of the Maharaja TV network, just outside Colombo, early Tuesday morning, the police said.


The attackers threw hand grenades, sprayed gunfire and set alight the building causing heavy damage, Director of MTV/MBC, the TV and radio unit of the channel, Asoka Dias said.


There were no casualties, but the station was severely damaged, Dias said adding, the attack came two days after the station was hit with a petrol bomb.


Media rights activists said the station had been accused by sections of the state media of "unpatriotic" coverage and criticised for reporting a suicide bombing in Colombo on Friday, the day troops took the rebel political capital of Kilinochchi.


President Rajapaksa immediately ordered a full investigation into the incident and called on the Inspector General of Police to apprehend the culprits and bring them to court, an official statement said.


"The Government vehemently condemns the attack on the Sirasa media perpetrated in the early hours today," Anusha Palpita, Director of Government Information said.

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