For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Our attention is drawn to a statement by Networking for Rights (NfR – Sri Lanka) on 28.12.2010 titled “Sri Lanka: Director Education in Jaffna shot dead for speaking out”
The allegations in this statement which refers to the killing by unknown persons of the Deputy Director of Education, Valikamam zone of the Jaffna district, are wholly false.
The statement alleges that the killing of Mr. Markandu Sivalingam, the Deputy Director of Education referred to, was because he openly criticized a circular directing that the National Anthem of Sri Lanka be sung in Sinhala only at the National, Safety Day ceremony held In the Jaffna district on December 26th 2010, the anniversary of the tragic Tsunami of 2004.
We wish to state that no circular to this effect has been issued by any government authority, and as such the alleged criticism of such a circular by the diseased could not have taken place.
The NfR states that their Information regarding in this killing has been confirmed by a news item in the website of the Global Tamil News of 28th December 2010. However, the item referred to on this website, only records the killing and makes no reference to the alleged circular referred by the NfR.
The NfR statement also says that the killing on 15.12.2010 of Nithiyananda Sharma, the chief ‘Priest of Chankaanai Murukamoorthy Temple in the Jaffna district, also had a political motive: This position is also rejected as baseless.
Police investigations are in progress into the killing of Mr. Marakandu Sivalingam, the Deputy Director of Education on 26.12.2010. The police have already apprehended suspect with regard to the killing of the Chief Priest of Chankaanal Murukamoorthy Temple.
The statement by the NfR appears to be an attempt to interfere with the police Investigations in to these two killings. by seeking to, give these tragic incidents an unwarranted political colourlng, and also to discredit the government by this means. It is noted that the steering committee, of the NfR comprises several Sri Lankans Including journalists who are now living in self-proclaimed “self exile” in western countries and they describe themselves as an “exile network for media and human rights in Sri Lanka”. The cause of media and human rights in Sri Lanka cannot be supported by the dissemination of such false Information as the NfR has done