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Tamil journalist attacked in Jaffna by unknown assailants

 

Tamil freelance journalist Pradeepan Thambithurai was attacked by masked assailants at his home in Achchuveli, Jaffna, earlier this week. The assailants, arriving on motorbikes, vandalised his property, including setting fire to his motorbike and damaging his three-wheeler. Leaflets were left at the scene with a message about transgender representation.

The damage caused is estimated to exceed Rs. 1 million. Police have launched an investigation, recovering fingerprints from a gas container used in the arson and obtaining CCTV footage of the attackers fleeing the scene. Four police teams are currently involved in the investigation.

Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) MP Selvarajah Kajendren visited Thambithurai's home to express concern and demand swift legal action from the Sri Lankan government. “It is very unfortunate that this incident happened,” he said. “The assailants have not only destroyed Thambithurai's belongings but they’ve also damaged the three-wheeler which is owned by his relation and wholesale items belonging to him which were meant for sale. These were worth lakhs and have been all destroyed.”

Kajendren highlighted that Thambithurai, a veteran journalist with over 15 years of experience, had recently been barred from covering the President's visit to the North. Thambithurai informed fellow journalists and several diplomatic missions, "which may have motivated the attack". "Although leaflets were left behind, it was an attempt to camouflage the actual reason behind the attack," said Kajendren.

Kajendren also added that during a previous occasion, Thambithurai was summoned by the Special Crime Office of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Kilinochchi for recording an incident where TNPF leader Gajendrakumar Ponnamblam was threatened by state intelligence officers. “Ever since this incident, he has been under surveillance. He now finds it hard to do this job or work as he fears for his life and is traumatized by the incident. The government needs to take responsibility. This could not have happened without their knowledge.”

Jaffna Media Association President K. Selvakumar condemned the attack and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of those responsible. C.V.K. Sivagnanam, Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council, echoed this sentiment, urging a peaceful resolution and swift justice for the perpetrators.

 

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