For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
“I told my [paramilitary] boys to beat up these journalists. But, the boys are not paying attention. It seems I have to go in person and do it to make these journalists behave,” was the newest controversial comment by SL Minister and EPDP paramilitary leader Douglas Devananda on Thursday evening at a meeting held at Jaffna District Secretariat, where he was talking to unemployed graduates who were demanding employment. The spontaneous comment by Mr. Devananda came when SL military governor’s secretary informed him of a news item that appeared in the Jaffna edition of Thinakkural exposing the diversion of funds allocated to development of schools in Vanni to the highly showcased construction of swimming pool which was declared opened by SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The threat against Tamil journalists comes following the recent comments against journalists by the visiting SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself, the journalists in Jaffna said.
L. Ilankovan, the secretary of SL Military Governor of Northern Province, gave the newsclip to Mr. Devananda who was having the meeting with unemployed graduates.
Five million rupees that had been allocated for the urgent reconstruction of schools in Vanni was diverted to the completion of the swimming pool at Jaffna Central College The swimming pool was supposed to be developed by the youth group of SL President Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa. But, the project which was marred corruption and misuse of the resources took several years and was not completed by the group.
The EPDP is earlier blamed to be involved in the slaying of Jaffna correspondent of BBC and TamilNet, Mr. Nimalarajan in year 2000.