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Tamil journalists threatened by police in Jaffna

Three Tamil journalists were harassed and threatened by police officers in Jaffna on Tuesday, after they reported from the protest against oil pollution outside Nallur temple.

The Thinakkural’s T Vinojith, T Piratheeban from a Colombo-based radio station and freelance journalist Mayurapriyan were leaving the protest after conducting interviews, when they were stopped behind the temple, by two men wearing jerseys with the Sri Lankan police’s emblem.

The officers, who were intoxicated, intercepted the reporters on a red motorbike, registration number NP BAL 2172, and asked for their identity documents. The Tamils questioned the police men under which capacity they were stopped, as they were not in full police uniform, at which point one of the officers pulled a knife and started chasing the journalists.

The journalists managed to escape on their motorbikes, but were followed by the knife-wielding officers, until they reached Jaffna Police Station. While waiting to file a complaint, one of the officers entered the station and attempted to assault the journalists. It was only when another officer intervened and removed the intoxicated policeman, the reporters were able to file a report.

Demonstrators had gathered in Nallur earlier in the day to protest against government inaction to tackle ground water contamination, suspected to be caused by the dumping of waste oil.

Councillors from the Northern Provincial Council also attended the protests and held discussions with those present.