“We will watch you and get you at the next opportunity,” a Sinhala military official at A'lampil in Mullaiththeevu has told a 32-year-old Tamil journalist who had taken photos and video of a Sinhala military-operated cafe at A'lampil in Mullaiththeevu district on 18 March. The journalist who hails from Vanni was in possession of a media card and documented that he was working for IBC, a privately-owned media outlet that operates in Tamil and Sinhala. Thavaseelan also documented that he had not recorded any military installation. However, the officers of the occupying Sinhala military were harassing him for 2 hours and finally released him only after SL military spokesman in Colombo was contacted by the editorial board of his media. Also when releasing him, the military officers came with the threat that he would be on their watchlist for the next opportunity.
The journalist, Shanmugam Thavaseelan, who is from Vanni was instructed by the Sinhala military personnel to delete whatever he had recorded in his camera.
But, the journalist who had phoned and informed his editors about the ongoing harassment, refused to delete but showed them what he had recorded.
The journalist had gone to A'lampil, located 13 km southeast of Mullaiththeevu town, to collect news about the land-grab by the SL military, which was expanding its occupation of the Heroes Cemetery of fallen Tamils in the war.
Due to the prevailing threats the native journalists from Vanni use to invite journalists from Jaffna as a team to avoid direct harassments.
But, such a team of journalists who went to Tha'n'ni-mu'rippu tank to witness and report on the alleged role of the occupying Army and Police in promoting Sinhala intruders to engage in fishing in the reservoir, were also subjected to similar harassment in December 2017.
When the harassment became an issue, the SL military started to claim that it knew nothing about such an incident.
However, the journalists provided documentary evidence of the episode to TamilNet exposing the background of the incident.