Sri Lanka President must be answerable for the murder - IFT

[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 April 2005, 07:14 GMT]
International Federation of Tamils (IFT) The purported murder was committed in a High Security Zone which is under the constant and vigilant protection of the Security Forces of the Sri Lankan government. As supreme commander of the armed forces, the Executive President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaiake Kumaratunge should be held responsible and made answerable for the murder. Several Tamil journalists and human rights activists, including Nimal Rajan in Jaffna, G.Nadesan in Batticaloa, Kumar Ponnambalam in Colombo and Chandra Nehru in Batticaloa, have been murdered, all in High Security Zones, during the present President’s tenure.

Fulltext of the statement by the International Federation of Tamils, follows:

A pen of a Senior Tamil Journalist has now been silenced by an intolerant dictator’s gun!
- President should made answerable for the murder -


The International Federation of Tamils, uneqivocally and unreservedly condemns the dastardly murder of Dharmaratnam Sivaram, a senior Tamil journalist, in Colombo on the 28th of April, 2005. The IFT extends its heartfelt condolences to Dharmaratnam Sivaram’s wife and children, on behalf of all expatriate Tamils, living outside our homeland.

The purported murder was committed in a High Security Zone which is under the constant and vigilant protection of the Security Forces of the Sri Lankan government. As supreme commander of these armed forces, the Executive President of Sri Lanka, Chandrika Bandaranaiake Kumaratunge should be held responsible and made answerable for the murder. Several Tamil journalists and human rights activists, including Nimal Rajan in Jaffna, G.Nadesan in Batticaloa, Kumar Ponnambalam in Colombo and Chandra Nehru in Batticaloa, have been murdered, all in High Security Zones, during the present President’s tenure.

Sivaram was a powerful bi-lingual journalist who reached the international readers through Tamilnet.com; English speaking Sri Lankans through newspapers like Sunday Times and Daily Mirror; and the Tamil speaking people through a number of weeklies, dailies, radios and TVs. He had been an avowed and outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan government on international platforms during his visits abroad, but he always respected the parameters of the freedom of expression in his writing and speech.

Sivaram was openly critical of the present government’s handling of the situation in the Batticaloa-Amparai districts where the security forces and intelligence units of the government and the para-military groups attached to the government military forces were instrumental in assasination attempts and political murders. He had to flee his native Batticaloa in 2001, when the adduced intelligence agents of the government demolished the premises of his press-office situated in the government controlled area, damaged the printing machinery, stabbed him and left him in a pool of blood. In order to save his life, Sivaram left for Colombo with his family where he had been residing for the last four years. Every time his exercising of “freedom to expression” embarrassed the government or the Executive President, his house in Colombo was subject to cordoned off “searches” by the state security forces which tended to issue threats after finishing each “search.” Such searches in 2004 made Sivaram complain to world media of impending threat to his life at the hands of the state security forces serving under the Executive President of Sri Lanka. Sivaram’s death now proves, Sri Lanka, east or west, a “killing field,” tolling its death knell to human rights dissidents and upholders of freedom of expression.

Dharmaratnam Sivaram was a former armed-fighter in defense of Tamil self-rule and served as the military commander of PLOTE, before the group joined mainstream politics. At the instance of the government, Sivaram agreed to lay down his arms. He renounced violence and became a committed journalist. To his death, Sivaram, popularly known as Taraki, remained a committed democrat, using his voice to defend human rights, and using his pen to defend the rights of the Tamils to self respect and self determination.

A pen of a senior Tamil Journalist has now been silenced by an intolerant dictator’s gun.

The International Federation of Tamils appeals to all peace-loving nations of the world to condemn this murder and prevail on the government of Sri Lanka to refrain from its planned extermination of Tamil intellectuals, journalists and human rights activists.

Media Director
ift@bluewin.ch

 

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