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“Uthayan” news paper in Jaffna has once again come under the hacksaw of the Sri Lankan regime. A new death notice has been distributed to all “Uthayan” news paper Employees, Agents, Reporters and the Security Guards working at its office in Jaffna. Three days ago on Thursday 25th June, a dubious front by the name ‘Tamil Front Protecting the Country’ issued a notice that was forced on news papers in Jaffna and all news papers that refrained from carrying that notice were burnt in bulk. That act of arson was the handy work of a para-military group working with State security forces, said reports from the North. (http://southasiaspeaks.wordpress.com/category/sri-lanka/sl-media/) The latest “death notice” issued to “Uthayan” news paper yesterday (June 27) has come without a name, but could be from the same source, says sources from North. Such acts can not be carried out in the heavily fortified Jaffna peninsula without the government security forces’ approval, where all movement is heavily restricted and no person could move about freely without carrying the “identity pass” issued by the military in addition to the NIC. With elections now scheduled for the Northern local government bodies (Jaffna municipal council and Vavuniya urban council) armed group(s) working closely with the government security forces have started dictating terms on the media, with the government ignoring all such intimidation. Therefore these “death threats” can not be taken lightly and as mere threats going by past experience, says media sources. Below is the full text of the death threat, translated from Tamil to English LAST WARNING TO: ALL EMPLOYEES, AGENTS AND REPORTERS OF PROTERRORIST ‘UTHAYAN’ NEWSPAPER From the time Uthayan started its publication up to now, Uthayan publishes news items to confuse the Tamil people and their Liberty. Now after regaining the harmony and Liberty in the Society, “Uthayan” News items are aimed at destroying the permanent peace and causes the public to turn to terroists again. Further, these news items promote communal feelings among Tamils and cause to destroy the peace. Your news items are twisted from actual truth. Your paper appears to be a mouthpiece of the Terrorists. Our earlier warnings have been disregarded by you. Therefore, we are compelled to take a decision not to allow the publication of Uthayan in Jaffna as it publishes news that cheat the people. Therefore all Employees, Agents, Reporters and Security Guards should officially resign from the Organisation with effect from 30.06.2009 If this final warning too is disregarded, you will face capital punishment (Death sentence) imposed by us.
– Srilanka President to Armed Services
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the Armed Forces of the State to restrict their operations during the New Year to those of a defensive nature, says a statement from the President’s Office.
In the true spirit of the season, it is timely for the LTTE to acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its weapons and surrender. The LTTE must also renounce terrorism and violence permanently, it adds,
Here is the text of the Statement from the President’s Office:
As the nation celebrates the traditional Sinhala and Tamil New Year, His Excellency the President is deeply conscious of the need to give the civilian population entrapped as hostages by the ruthless actions of the LTTE, the opportunity to celebrate these festivities in a suitable atmosphere and to have uninhibited freedom of movement from the No Fire Zone to the cleared areas,
With this objective in view, His Excellency has directed the Armed Forces of the State to restrict their operations during the New Year to those of a defensive nature.
The Sinhala & Tamil New Year is symbolic of the amity prevailing amongst all communities in Sri Lanka. In the true spirit of the season, it is timely for the LTTE to acknowledge its military defeat and lay down its weapons and surrender. The LTTE must also renounce terrorism and violence permanently.
April 12, 2009
Aid agencies say civilians are living a nightmare in war-torn areas of Sri Lanka. CNN’s Sara Sidner reports.