The office of Uthayan , the Jaffna-based Tamil newspaper, was attacked in the early hours of Saturday.
This is the second attack suffered by the publication in the last fortnight. On April 3, the newspaper’s Kilinochchi office was attacked by masked assailant.
Speaking to The Hindu , E. Saravanapavan, managing director of Uthayan and a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, said Saturday’s edition was passed at around 1 a.m. and three employees and three security guards were at office.
“The delivery personnel had already left the premises. Those who were at the office told me that three men with arms entered the premises. One of them, holding a long weapon, stood at the main entrance, while two others, holding pistols, went in. They damaged an electricity panel, set fire to the printing machine, copies of our paper and some newsprint. My employees ran outside and escaped.”
According to Military Spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, three paper rolls were partially burnt along with few copies of the paper, but there was no damage done to any of the printing machines. The newspaper’s offices and employees have been the target of several attacks in the last few years.
There has hardly been any progress in the investigation, said Mr. Saravanapavan. Uthayan ’s editorial position is aligned to the agenda of the TNA — an umbrella organisation of parties representing Tamils of the Northern Province.
Meanwhile Sri Lankan News Agency Lankapuvath put out messages saying investigations revealed that setting fire to the newspaper’s office was an insider’s job, in order to tarnish the image of the government.