Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Sri Lanka arrests Tamil youth for Tik Tok posts after ‘cyber patrol unit’ monitoring

File photo: Sri Lankan soldiers listen to an address by Shavendra Silva on cyber warfare

Sri Lanka’s Terrorist Investigations Division (TID) arrested a Tamil youth in Wattala last week claiming that he had posted content about the LTTE on Tik Tok, which was being monitored by the authorities ‘cyber patrol unit’.

The 25-year-old Tamil youth, who was born in Mullaitivu and living in Hatton, has since been detained by counter terror police under the widely criticised Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

Sri Lanka’s DIG Ajith Rohana confirmed the arrest and said the Terrorism Investigation Division and the Criminal Investigation Department are working through special teams to monitor activities using the Internet and social media. Tik Tok is a popular social media app that allows users to share short video clips.

The detention of yet another Tamil youth comes after several similar arrests of Tamils over alleged social media posts. Dozens of Tamils have been held in recent months, particularly in the Eastern Province, as the Sri Lankan security forces launched a crackdown, using alleged posts on social media as an excuse to detain them.

Amongst those arrested recently is Murugupillai Kokulathasan, a photographer attached to Batticaloa Press Club who was arrested on November 28, 2020, over allegations that he had published pictures of the LTTE on Facebook. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called on Sri Lanka's prosecutors to drop the absurd terrorism charges, labelling them 'Kafkaesque'. 

Last year, Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Germany  reportedly called for the establishment of an “anti terrorism task force on cyber security” to monitor social media platforms, citing the success of Tamil campaigns and activism in the diaspora.  Also last year, accused war criminal and Sri Lankan army chief Shavendra Silva addressed Sri Lankan soldiers at a 'Zero Day of Virtual Battle' exercise, noting that the Sri Lanka Signal Corps (SLSC) had 'increased capabilities'.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.