Eight Tamil journalists gathering research on Sinhalisation in Mullaitivu were detained by Sri Lankan soldiers and police on Saturday.
The journalists were questioned about their identities by a soldier who approached them on a bicycle. When told that they had come from Jaffna, the soldier left and returned with another solider who detained and questioned them further.
Despite identifying the journalists, the soldiers detained them for over half an hour and called the police to the scene.
The police officers arrived in plain-clothes and failed to produce any police identification but seized the group’s cameras and equipments, handing them over to the soldiers who proceeded to delete all photos and videos that the journalists had worked on in the area.
The journalists had their identities and vehicle registration numbers recorded and were photographed by the soldiers.
Sinhalisation in Mullaitivu
The journalists were questioned and detained while researching the Sinhalisation of Thanneer Murippu in Mullaitivu.
Sinhalese fishermen had been denied permits to fish in the Thanneer Murippu tank by the Mullaitivu District Secretariat.
However Tamil residents in the area had complained that the Sinhalese fishermen were illegally fishing the tank with the protection of Sri Lankan soldiers, with plans even underway for a new army checkpoint on the banks of the tank.
The journalists said that all their documentation of the issue which was a source of anxiety and anger for the Tamil locals had been deleted when the soldiers erased their cameras.