For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka.
The female Tamil journalist, Isaipriya alias Shoba (27), was killed during the final stages of the war by the troops belonging to 53rd Division of the Sri Lankan Army, in an execution-style murder at an unknown location in the island’s northern battle-zone. The mutilated naked body of the rebel media specialist was showed in a shocking video footage aired by British TV, Channel 4 recently.
Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence releasing a long list of names of LTTE leaders killed on May 18, 2009 – the final day of the war – said on June 21, 2009 that “Lieutenant Colonel” Isaipriya was among the top rebel leaders killed by the troops of the 53rd Division and claimed that she was attached to the Communications and Publicity Wing of the rebels. However, the Channel-4 video footage has now clearly established the fact that she was killed in an execution-style murder with hands tied behind and not in ‘fierce clashes.’
The gruesome video footage aired on November 30, 2010 by the British TV channel, showed the elongated version of how Sri Lankan soldiers in military fatigue, freely carrying out execution-style murders on a dozen of naked and blind-folded men and women with their hands tied behind. The soldiers speaking in native Sinhala language could be heard making sexual remarks on the naked dead bodies of women. A close look at the video and the conversation of the soldiers in the background clearly show that the women have been raped before being shot down close range.
Meanwhile, the Tamilnet website reported that its Wanni Correspondent, who has now reached a safe country in the West, has identified that “one of the women victims, stripped naked, hands tied behind back, and shot dead, as seen in the video footage that has recently reached Channel-4” as 27-year-old Shoba, alias Isaipriya.
Isaipriya has worked as a media specialist with the LTTE and was producing a periodical video magazine Oliveechchu.
“I am able to learn through those who have been at Mullivaaykkaal in the final days of war, that Shoba remained unarmed and did not take part in combat,” the Tamilnet has quoted its Wanni correspondent as saying.
According to him, Shoba has also lost her 6-month-old baby girl, named Akal, in the last stage of the war in Sri Lanka’s indiscriminate bombardment on civilians.
Siblings of Isaipriya living outside Sri Lanka have also confirmed her identity.