An award-winning Tamil Journalist from the war-affected north of Sri Lanka was questioned for over four hours by the anti-terror police for publishing a story about ‘Maveerar Naal’ -Hero’s Day, an annual tribute paid to the former LTTE cadres.
K. Dilip Amuthan, a news editor at the Jaffna-based ‘Uthayan’ daily was summoned to the Counter-Terrorism and Investigation Division (CITD) in Colombo on Monday (01) regarding publishing news articles on the ‘Maveerar Naal’ and the birthday of the Velupillai Prabakaran leader of the LTTE.
CITD interrogated him about publishing the news about Prabakaran’s birthday along with his picture. This was published on 26 November, 2020. The Newspaper also carried a news copy about the Tamil National People’s Front calling upon people to come and pay their respects on ‘Maaveerar Naal’.
Local journalists say a case was initially registered by the Jaffna police who took forward the inquiry against Dilip Amuthan. Subsequently, the case was transferred to the CITD, who summoned him to their office in Colombo to inquire further.
The interrogation which began at 9 AM continued well past lunchtime till 1.30 PM. A statement was recorded from him by the CITD.
Dileep Amuthan had been honoured at the RTI Citizenship Appreciation Felicitation Awards for his investigations including Sri Lanka military run business in Tamil speaking north.
His summoning and interrogation come at a time when the Tamils in the North and East are preparing for the ‘Maveerar Naal’ this year.
Every year, November 27 is observed as ‘Hero’s Day’ by the Tamil people who solemnly pay their respects and tributes to those who lost their lives for the liberation of their motherland.
Tamil Journalists in Sri Lanka continue to face threats and intimidation from state security agencies even after the brutal civil war came to a bloody end in May 2009.
During war and post-war many journalists have either gone missing or killed and none of the cases was fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.
International agencies including the UN have expressed their dismay over the treatment of Tamil journalists in Sri Lanka.