Attack on Uthayan editor portrays renewed attacks on Tamils: JDS

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 August 2011, 06:18 GMT]
Holding the political and military leadership of the Rajapaksa regime responsible for the recent pre-planned attack on the news editor of the Janffa-based Uthayan newspaper, the Journalist for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), a media organisation of exiled group of Journalists from the island, has said that the attack has portrayed “the vicious nature of the renewed and accelerated violent attacks on democratic rights of Sri Lanka's Tamil people”.

Operating in exile, the JDS said that the targeted attack on unarmed senior journalist, Gnanasundaram Kuhanathan (59) in the close proximity of a military check point is “a serious threat to the already worsened democracy in Jaffna”.

“This cowardly act on unarmed media man has been carried out by sinister elements that have got the full blessings and backings of the political and military authorities in the country,” the JDS said, adding that the attack on Kuhanathan should not be viewed merely as an isolated attack on media freedom and freedom of speech in Sri Lanka.

Calling for the immediate demilitarisation of the north is a key to any meaningful exercise to restore democracy and normalcy”, the JDS has stated that “the disproportionate military presence in the north is a serious threat to the will and the independence of the people in the area.

“The attack on the top journalist immediately after the conclusion of the local government elections amidst disproportionate military presence in the northern Jaffna peninsula, has made one thing repeatedly clear -- that the government’s war on media and democracy is still actively on,” it said.

It said that the Rajapaksa government, coming under ever increasing international pressure over the wide-spread war crime allegations during the final weeks of the war in May 2009, hurriedly conducted the elections for the local councils even without resettling the war-displaced civilians in the north, aiming to hoodwink the international community.

Despite the high-scale poll related violence, the people in the north voted the Tamil National Allaince (TNA) to win 18 out of 20 local councils in the peninsula, inflicting a humiliating defeat to the hawkish Rajapaksa government.

“Angered and humiliated by the verdict of the people, the government appears to have reactivated its paramilitary groups and killings squads to intimidate and carry out attack on local leaders and media as means of political reprisals,” the JDS said, stressing that mere statements of condemnation and appeal for good governance by the international community have convincingly been proved a futile exercise.

“Holding an election is only an aspect of democracy and will not reflect the full restoration of democracy or normalcy as the government is desperately trying to make it out to be”.

“Therefore, immediate demilitarisation of the north is a key to any meaningful exercise to restore democracy and normalcy as the disproportionate military presence in the north is a serious threat to the will and the independence of the people in the area”.

“Until then the so-called democracy will inevitably be at the mercy of the heavily armed military personnel and paramilitary outfits, which are obviously groomed and controlled by the political authorities in the island nation,” the JDS said.


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