For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
A Sri Lankan police constable, claiming to be a EPDP man, entered the building of Uthayan daily in Jaffna Wednesday afternoon and warned the daily over an item it had carried in its Tidbits column involving a school principal recently. The SL Police constable, Ratnathas Pradeepan from Achchuveali, intimidated the press workers threatening to set fire with a cigarette lighter he was holding, the paper said. Publishing a photograph of PC Pradeepn, the paper also said that he was “selected” for SL Police when the police recruited 500 personnel for training.
SL Police Constable Pradeepan from Achchuveali, photographed by Uthayan
When the security police deployed at the building confronted him, Pradeepan phoned one “Comrade Barath” of the EPDP. When there was no favourable response, he made another call and wanted the policemen at the site to have a chat with the “Minister” through his cell phone. But, the policemen on service declined the offer and handed him over to Jaffna police.
Sri Lankan Senior Deputy Inspector General in charge of the Northern Province Gamini Silva has temporarily suspended Pradeepan from service, SL Police said.
Before getting selected to SL Police, Pradeepan has been a strong supporter of the EPDP and was spotted at the EPDP office in Achchuveali, the paper further said.
Uthayan daily, in a news item on Thursday questioned whether the threat posed by the police constable was directed against paper itself or against the founder of the paper, E. Saravanapavan, who is now a TNA parliamentarian.