Sri Lankan military intelligence operatives have intensified attacks on independent Tamil journalists in Vanni in recent days. A 33-year-old reporter from Paranthan, Sinnarasa Siventhiran, who files news stories at Uthayan’s branch office at Karadippoakku junction had a narrow escape from a squad that intended to kill him by throwing him in front of a vehicle on A9 Road Sunday night. Squads operated by the SL military have also assaulted two other reporters in recent days and threatened them not to complain or publish news on the attack.
Two masked men stopped Mr Siventhiran, who was returning home in his bicycle on A9 road after filing stories at the office of the Tamil daily Uthayan. He is a teacher and files stories in the evening as an independent journalist. He cycles to the branch office of the Tamil daily between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. to write his stories, as he doesn’t have computer or Internet facilities at home.
First, the two men who claimed they were from Criminal Investigation Division interrogated him for 10 minutes. When Mr Siventhiran said he could go to the police station if there is anything he needed to clarify, the men claimed they were from a higher authority than the police and said they wanted to finish him off to give a lesson. The attackers claimed that there was no use in disciplining certain Tamil journalist, according to Mr Siventhiran.
The incident took place at a least-populated locality situated between Paranthan and Karadippoakku.
After attacking the journalist, the masked men wanted to throw him in front a speeding bus trying to kill him and make it look like an accident. However, the attempt failed as the driver of the approaching vehicle managed to turn his vehicle away from the person lying on the road. Mr Siventhiran managed to run towards a restaurant and the public gathered to confront the masked men who were chasing him.
Siventhiran, in his complaint to the police on Sunday said he could identify one of the masked men who had pulled off his mask before pushing the journalist in front of the vehicle on A9 road.