Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) has resumed its campaign against Tamil Guardian journalist Uthayarasa Shalin after a lull of a month.
The TID issued a summons to Shalin’s friend Sinnathurai Pratheepkumar on Wednesday, ordering him to appear at TID headquarters in Colombo on November 27.
The journalist has faced months of harassment and targeting, which has included the summoning and questioning of his friends and family members, purportedly based on his coverage of a Hindu temple festival where a map of the Tamil homeland was displayed.
The international organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement last month that the harassment of Shalin “on entirely spurious grounds”, recalled Sri Lanka’s worst period of persecution of Tamil journalists.
Pratheepkumar becomes the 12th person to be summoned by the TID over the temple display. The majority of those summoned have been locals who attend the temple but who have no official capacity in temple administration.
Human rights defenders have said the prolonged timescale and intensity of the investigations have been entirely disproportionate to the incident.
Locals also questioned the timing of the new summons, claiming that the order to appear in Colombo on the date of Maaveerar Naal, Tamil national remembrance day for fallen LTTE fighters, was unlikely to be coincidental.