No arrests have been made yet in connection with Wednesday’s attack on the regional office of the Uthayan Newspaper in Kilinochchi, Police Spokesman SP Buddhika Siriwardena said last night.
“A special team has been deployed to arrest the suspects of this attack. It is headed by an ASP on the instructions of the DIG in charge of the district,” he said.
According to reports, six masked attackers had stormed into the office of the newspaper and assaulted employees within the premises on Wednesday morning.
Editor In Chief Gnanam Mayilnathan alleged that the attackers were elements attached to the security forces.
“There was a call prior to the attack threatening a journalist. When we called back that number, a voice message said that number did not exist. Who else would have such technology if not the military?” he asked.
Mayilnathan further said if the military denies this charge,then there should be another force which is superior to the military.
“This was about the fifteenth time we faced attacks since the attack in 2006 where two journalists were killed. Four of our employees have been killed up to now,” he said.
Mayilnathan further charged that the police had diverted the investigation.
“The Police spokesman had gone on record saying that this might have been done by people who did not like the paper. That is irrelevant, if some people liked it or not, attacks of this sort cannot be condoned and the attacker must be arrested instead of diverting the issue and justifying the attack,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Army yesterday denied all allegations made with regard to the recent attack on the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) office and the Uthayan Newspaper stating that the allegations were malicious and were made to fulfill the political agendas of certain groups.
“All of these allegations are fabrications stemming from planned political agendas that these politicians seek to espouse mainly among the international community. The Army is not a paramilitary group to be focusing on such dastardly acts. We are a professional organization committed to the security of all Sri Lankans equally,” Military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wangiasuriya, stressed.
Speaking further, the military spokesman said that it was the TNA who was in the forefront in calling for the removal of troops patrolling in the North.
“The troops are now virtually confined to the barracks, if by any chance there were troops around they would have been the first to complain that the military was suppressing the freedom of the people and the press. We have removed all road blocks, check points and minimized patrolling thereby effectively confining ourselves to camps except engaging in civil affairs activities aimed at helping the civilians to get back to normal life” he said.
Brigadier Wanigasuriya said the Army and the Uthayan newspaper have had a very good rapport.
“When the Security Forces Commander for Killinochchi visited the scene and then the hospital, the injured employees of the newspaper had clearly told him that they did not suspect the army because it has such a good relationship with the people and the press in the North” he said.
He further urged members of both the local and international community to get firsthand experience of the goodwill and understanding the army and the civilians of the North have rather than listening to false allegations made on political agendas.
“The civilians don’t want us out of the North, there is mutual friendliness between us and our main objective is to help these people to re-build their lives. Not to cater to the whims and fancies of politicians who have malicious agendas” he said.(Hafeel Farisz and Benislos Thushan)