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Death threats issued to journalists and Jaffna uni staff, students over May 18 remembrance

Updated 13:23 BST (adds translation)

A death threat has been issued to staff and students at the University of Jaffna, as well as journalists over their attempts to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Mullivaikal massacre despite the military banning any public events.

In a flyer distributed around Jaffna today, the staff, students and journalists were given a "final warning" against those "encouraging or resurrecting terrorism".

Some individuals, including journalists who played prominent role in reporting on remembrance events held this weekend as well as the heavy military presence around political party offices and temples, have been explicitly named.

Stating that previous warnings had been ignored, the death threat said "they still do not reform, the final sentence is a death sentence. The final day has been marked for some."

"Do not take this lightly as with previous warnings. You are guaranteed to be freed from this world," it concluded, signed by the 'Nation Guarding Force' and dated May 18.


Final warning

Those trying to encourage terrorism in the University of Jaffna are going to be punished.

After terrorism had been defeated, they are attempting to grow terrorism inside the University of Jaffna.

We have identified those treacherous forces that are making such attempts.

In addition to identifying them, the lecturers, deans and students at Univerisity of Jaffna, we have received reports of certain media workers working alongside them.

Despite issuing warnings to them several times they show no signs of reforming, they continue to take part in terrorist activities along side students and staff.

This is their final warning.

Many have been identified including Pidaathupathi Sivanathan, Teachers Union head Rasakumaaran, Students Union head Kirupa Komes [and] newspaper journalist Shalin [and] Nirojan.

If they still do not reform, the final sentence is a death sentence.

The final day has been marked for some.

Do not take this lightly as with previous warnings.

You are guaranteed to be freed from this world.

Photograph @Uthayarasashali

On the morning of May 18, Tamil media and political parties were targeted as heavily armed troops surrounded the offices of Uthayan, Thinakkural newspapers, the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

Attempts by mourners to say prayers for the dead within temples were also stopped, as armed troops surrounded Nallur and Keerimalai temples, blocking off access to Tamils.

Earlier in the week the military banned all temple events and public gatherings to commemorate the dead, stating that no bells should toll on May 17 and 18.

The University of Jaffna was ordered shut earlier this month, prompting widespread condemnation from students and staff. Attempts by students to donate blood as an act of remembrance were also stopped, as troops blocked access to the blood donation centre at Jaffna Teaching Hospital.

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