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Young journalist Nilakshan remembered on tenth anniversary of murder

Nilakshan's parents lay flowers at Jaffna Hindu College remembrance event

On 1st August 2007, Sahathevan Nilakshan, an up and coming Tamil journalist was shot and killed by suspected Sri Lankan military intelligence personnel.

At a time when the Jaffna district was on lockdown due to military-imposed curfew, and the city’s streets were heaving with troops, so-called unidentified gunmen were able to approach Nilakshan’s home in Kokkuvil, a busy suburb less than 5km away from town.

The perpetrators forced a friend of the journalist to accompany them to Nilakshan’s home and call him outside, before gunning him down.

On Tuesday, Nilakshan, journalist and popular student leader, murdered aged 22 while still a media student, was remembered in Jaffna on the tenth anniversary of his death.

On Tuesday morning, Tamil journalists along with Nilakshan’s family and friends gathered at the public monument to murdered journalists in Jaffna, a memorial built to remember at least 41 Tamil journalists assassinated during the armed struggle.

An afternoon remembrance service was held at Jaffna Hindu College, Nilakshan’s alma mater.

(More below)

"Many of our young community leaders were killed after 2006. His killing was part of the systematic targeting of young Tamil activists, designed to silence those voices.

He represents the importance of politics beyond party politics.

Attempts to silence the struggle, not only militarily, have cost us many lives, including Nilakshan's."

Guruparan Kumaravadivel, Head of Law at Jaffna University and former classmate of Nilakshan, delivers keynote speech

"We lost many journalists.

Although there are periods of time when things appear better, the threats continue.

Media workers face big challenges on a daily basis."

Dr K. Suthakar, Dean of Arts Faculty, University of Jaffna, delivers special guest speech

"This event shows they haven't been able to silence us.

They cannot silence our thoughts."

Mr A. Sathiyamurthi, Manager of People's Bank, Jaffna during his tribute speech.

Mr Sathiyamurthi also spoke about the need for a new, young leadership for Tamils.

Dr S. Raguram, Senior Lecturer and Convenor of Media Studies Department at University of Jaffna delivers principle tribute speech.

Dr Raguram spoke of the ongoing oppression of journalists and the current government's lack of will to prosecute the assassination of Tamil journalists.

"Our hunger has not been satisfied.

Over thirty years and our hunger hasn't been satisfied."

Arumaithurai Yaseekaran, Editor-in-chief of Vakeesam.com, delivers vote of thanks

(More below)

A gold medal in memory of Nilakshan is awarded for excellence in journalism to a student at the Media Studies Department, Jaffna University.

In loving memory: Nilakshan's nephew, also named Nilakshan, pays tribute at a private ceremony held at the family's home in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Morning vigil at the monument for murdered journalists in Jaffna town. Nilakshan's nephew lays flowers.

Moment of silence: audience at Jaffna Hindu College remembrance event stand in silence, paying respect to Nilakshan, his fellow murdered colleagues and all Tamils who lost their lives during the armed struggle.


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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.

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