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Veteran Tamil journalist murdered

(FMM/IFEX) - The following is an FMM press release:

The Free Media Movement expresses its deep sorrow and condemnation of the murder of veteran Tamil journalist Mylvaganam Nimalarajan in Jaffna yesterday. Mr. Nimalarajan worked as the Jaffna correspondent for a number of electronic and print media institutions in the south of the island, as well as for the BBC. He was also a central figure in providing support and advice to Sinhala journalists who have visited Jaffna. We appeal to the Media Minister and to the defense authorities in Jaffna to investigate the circumstances of his death immediately.

Mr. Nimalarajan was a courageous journalist of the highest caliber who had remained in Jaffna through a series of political changes. Throughout the time that Jaffna was under the control of the LTTE, to the period under the Indian Peace-Keeping Forces, and through the various subsequent changes he continued to report from Jaffna, disregarding the intimidation he had to face, bringing the true situation of the north to people in Sri Lanka and abroad.

According to the information the FMM has received, Mr. Nimalarajan had been threatened by a leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) following an article he had written to the Tamil journal 'Athavan'. He had told his colleagues about this threat. It seems to us there is a clear connection between this threat and the bomb attack on the home of Mr. Nimalarajan on the night of October 19, 2000. It was on the same day that the leader of the EPDP was sworn in as Minister for Northern Development. We have also learned that in the attack in which Mr. Nimalarajan was killed, his parents and an 11-year-old child who were in the house at the time were also injured.

The FMM salutes the very special contribution that Mr. Nimalarajan made to journalism in this country and conveys its most sincere condolences to the members of his family.

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