Local contacts of visiting Indian journalist exposed to TID interrogators in Colombo

In one of the strongest investigations and monitoring conducted so far on a foreign journalist visiting the island, the experienced interrogators of the notorious ‘Terrorist Investigation Department’ of Colombo had not only confiscated the electronic and non-electronic possessions from the young journalist from Tamil Nadu, but also monitored and traced all his contacts from the moment he landed at Colombo airport for the second time, informed media sources in Colombo told TamilNet Sunday. In the meantime 22-year-old Maga Thamizh Prabhagaran, when contacted by TamilNet after his deportation to Chennai, said he was subjected to ‘psychological torture’ like condition at the hands of the TID interrogators in Colombo and that the TID had his Tamil book of his first visit translated when they questioned him on his affiliations.

The journalist was arrested by the Sri Lankan military in Ki’linochchi on Wednesday and deported to India on Saturday after extensive interrogations in Vanni and Colombo.

A prominent member of a media rights group in Colombo told TamilNet on Sunday that anonymous callers from the TID had already issued threats at least to two local contacts, who were allegedly in touch with Mr Prabhagaran.

When contacted by TamilNet, Maga Prabhagaran said he was extensively questioned on his Tamil Nadu political links. The TID interrogators were questioning on the kind of relationship he had with Tamil leaders and activists in Tamil Nadu.

The TID interrogators were particular on his contact with Mr Vaiko, the general secretary of the MDMK and Mr Pazha Nedumaran. They had a photo of him and Mr Vaiko during their questioning. The interrogators were also interested to know about whether there was any link between him and Mr Seeman of Naam Thamizhar.

He also added that the TID interrogators were also questioning him on his contacts in the island. They were keen in knowing which Tamil politicians in the island, with whom he was in touch during his first and second visit to the island.

Mr Thamizh Prabhagaran, who was on a ‘tourist visa’ trip to the North, has defended himself by saying that he was only filming open facilities and that he had entered none of prohibited places as being claimed by the SL military.

However, it would not be possible to anyone filming activities in North to avoid SL military being captured in filming, as the SL military presence is virtually everywhere inseparable from the civilians, sources in Vanni told TamilNet.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan TID has stepped up threats against local journalists this weekend, rights activists in the island say.

[Full Coverage]

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