Senior Jaffna journalist shot dead

Place: Jaffna | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 20001019

Senior Jaffna journalist, Mylvaganam Nimalrajan, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the Sri Lanka Army's high security zone in Jaffna town Thursday night around 10 p.m.. His father Sangarapillai Mylvaganam, 65, his mother, Lilly Mylvaganam, 62, and his nephew, Jegathas Prasanna, 11, were seriously wounded by a grenade lobbed by the gunmen.

Mr.Nimalrajan was the Jaffna correspondent for the Tamil daily Virakesari and the popular Sinhala weekly, Ravaya. He was also a regular contributor to the BBC's Tamil and Sinhala services. His colleagues in Jaffna said that they suspected a pro-government group's involvement in the shooting. His house is close to a Sri Lanka Army sentry.

Mr.Nimalrajan wrote articles in the Virakesari, the Ravaya and the Tamil political weekly, Aathavan, criticising and exposing a pro-government Tamil group that had indulged in thuggery and rigging in Jaffna during elections to the Sri Lankan Parliament on 10 October.

Mr.Nimalrajan was doing work in his study when the gunmen fired at him through the window of his room. They had then lobbed a grenade into the living room of his house, seriously wounding his father, mother and nephew.

The army came to the journalist's home and took him to the Jaffna teaching hospital said Nimalrajan's relatives. They said they could not rush him and his parents for medical-care as there is a curfew in the town after 9 p.m.

A doctor at the Jaffna Teching Hospital said that the staff could not save Mr.Nimalrajan's life as he had been shot at very close quarters.


Jaffna journalist killed for his reporting

[TamilNet, October 20, 2000 06:43 GMT]

The killing of senior Jaffna journalist, Mylvaganam Nimalrajan, 38 Thursday night by gunmen suspected to be members of a pro-government Tamil group, was widely condemned by Tamil media organisations and political parties. Mr.Nimalrajan, fearlessly reported the intimidation, thuggery and election malpractice during the October 10 elections in Jaffna to the Sri Lankan Parliament.

He told colleagues subsequently that he had earned the ire of the armed pro-government group, the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), which was widely implicated in violence against other parties contesting the polls and in rigging and intimidation.

Mr.Nimalrajan told TamilNet three days before his assassination that he was worried about his safety as he had received several threats and that the army had visited him for an inquiry the day before.

He said that the EPDP was holding him partly responsible for not getting the majority of the Jaffna votes they were hoping to obtain.

Mr.Nimalrajan organised a demonstration and protest against a bomb attack on the Jaffna Tamil daily, the Uthayan.

The EPDP was involvement was suspected in the attack on Uthayan which had been critical of the group.

In statement issued today, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation charged that a pro-government group was responsible for Nimalrajan's murder.

Jaffna journalists protest against an attack on the Tamil daily, 'Uthayan', on 31 August 1999.Photo:TamilNet Members of Nimalrajan's household who escaped the attack told TamilNet Friday that the two gunmen had entered the living room and slit the throat of the journalist's father and had gagged him. Then their accomplices had shot Mr.Nimalrajan who had been writing an article in his room. The parents of the slain journalist and his 11 year old nephew who were wounded by a grenade lobbed by the attackers are still not out of danger said Jaffna hospital doctors.

Mr.Nimalrajan is married and the father of three children. He was the Jaffna correspondent for the Tamil daily Virakesari, the independent Tamil radio station, Sooriyan FM, the popular Sinhala political weekly, Ravaya, the Tamil and Sinhala services of the BBC. He was also the secretary of the Northern Journalists' Association.


Thousands mourn slain Jaffna journalist

[TamilNet, October 21, 2000 14:09 GMT]

More than four thousand mourners took part in the funeral of the slain Tamil journalist Nimalrajan Saturday as he was laid to rest in the cemetery of the church of Konjanji Maatha this afternoon in Jaffna town around 3.30 p.m. Posters condemning his killing came up in many parts the peninsula. Black flags were also flown in the town. Meanwhile, in Colombo, the opposition Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) charged that the EPDP was behind the Nimalrajan's killing.

Journalists, members of the clergy and public officials spoke at the journalist's funeral. Mr.C.V.K Sivagnanam, the chairman of the of the Jaffna Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, said that the Nimalrajan's murder is an indication that Jaffna is about to be covered by dark clouds.

Mr.Thavachelvam, a freelance journalist in Vadamaradchi who spoke at the funeral said "those who killed Nimalarajan might now hunt for me as well. But I will not submit or yield to their threats. A group that took the votes of the Jaffna people and got a ministry thinks that it can threaten and intimidate journalists and establish their anarchic writ here. Jaffna journalists should not limit their actions to merely condemning Nimalrajan's murder. They should expose the perpetrators"

A leaflet issued by the Jaffna University Students' Association titled "Is this Rehabilitation in Jaffna" charged that a group that feared the truth will come out from Jaffna murdered Nimalrajan.

"The party which got the Ministry for Rehabilitation (North) has rewarded the people with a murder. Nimalrajan was murdered to cover up the genocide of Tamils by the Sri Lanka army and the perpetuation of the group's anarchic rule" the leaflet by the Jaffna University Students Association said.

The leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party is the Minister for Northern rehabilitation and Notheastern Tamil affairs. The EPDP did not send a representative for Nimalrajan funeral today.


Journalists protest colleague's slaying

[TamilNet, October 25, 2000 14:37 GMT]

Over six hundred Sri Lankan journalists protested Wednesday against the brutal slaying of Jaffna based reporter Mylvaganam Nimalarajan allegedly by pro-government militiamen. The picket, conducted by the Free Media Movement, Sri Lanka Tamil Media Alliance and other media institutions in Colombo took place opposite Fort Railway Station for about one and a half hours commencing from 12 noon. Meanwhile, other correspondents say they have been threatened in the wake of the killing.

Picketers demanded that the government conduct an impartial inquiry and bring the culprits before a court of law.

Parliamentarians from the main opposition United National Party, Tamil United Liberation Front, Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna and Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) participated in the protest. Leaders from the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) and People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) also participated in this protest.

The TELO, PLOTE and EPRLF all have paramilitary sections which fight alongside the Sri Lankan security forces against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP), the largest of the pro-government militias has been blamed for Nimalarajan's killing by the other Tamil groups and journalists.

The reporter had written several reports critical of the EPDP's dubious practices during the recent Parliamentary elections. The EPDP, which secured 4 seats is part of the new coalition government, has been accused of ballot box stuffing, as well as violence against other parties and intimidation of voters.

Meanwhile, other correspondents in Jaffna have received death threats, sources said.