A Jaffna-based journalist, was attacked and had his phone stolen by a group of unidentified persons, last Wednesday.
The group broke into S. Mukunthan’s home in Jaffna and attacked him.
Mukunthan posted a Facebook post the day before the attack, alleging that the organisation, Tamil Kodi (translated – Tamil Flag) hosted relief activities that did not follow social distancing measures, despite the growing threat of a second wave of coronavirus across the island. Mukunthan also urged the concerned local authorities to take the necessary action against the organisation.
Members of Tamil Kodi had allegedly mounted pressure on Mukunthan to delete his Facebook post and faced violent threats from the organisation to retract his comments. It is suspected that as a result of Mukunthan’s failure to comply with their demands, he was attacked by persons affiliated with the organisation.
Mukunthan lodged a complaint with Jaffna Police, who carried out an investigation and arrested three persons in relation to the incident. However, the police are still undertaking a further inquiry into the case with the detainees to establish the reason for the assault.
This incident is the latest in a series of attacks that Tamil journalists have been subjected to in the island. Last month, Tamil Guardian’s correspondents Thavaseelan and Kumanan were savagely assaulted by a group of locals for digging into illegal timber trade in Mullaitivu for a story. Similarly, a young Tamil journalist was attacked by two unidentified persons in Jaffna with barbed wire and had his motorbike smashed in August this year.
As a Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinist government reigns in Colombo, Tamil journalists in the North-East find their press freedom increasingly in jeopardy as they face constant threats and intimidation for doing their job.