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HRCSL starts inquiry on assault in Mullaitivu

29 Nov 2021

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) announced yesterday (29) that it has commenced a Suo Motu (of its own accord) inquiry concerning an assault on a journalist at Mullivaikal, Mullaitivu on 27 November 2021 by Army soldiers. The HRCSL has called for reports from the General Officer of the Commanding 59 Division of Sri Lanka Army, Mullaitivu, and the Headquarters Inspector of the Mullaitivu Police Station with regard to the assault on or before 3 December 2021. The Mullaitivu Press Club engaged in a wide range of protests on Sunday (28), condemning the assault of the individual by the name of V. Vishwachandran Mullaitivum last Saturday (27), a freelance independent journalist, who was assaulted by three officers attached to the 59 Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army. Video footage showed Vishwachandran claiming that he was merely taking a photo of the “Mullivaikal” road sign when he was assaulted using “barbed wire”. Pictures of Vishwachandran’s hands show injuries, and he had later been admitted to hospital for treatment. Three army officers attached to the 59 Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army, who were allegedly involved in the said assault, were reportedly arrested by the Police on Sunday (28) and later released on bail. “He was beaten with palmyrah fronds wrapped with barbed wire. He suffered serious injuries and was admitted to the Mullaitivu District Hospital for treatment. Journalists in Sri Lanka, especially those in the war-affected North and East, are subjected to serious challenges amidst severe threats to their lives and profession. Despite 44 Tamil journalists being abducted or subjected to forced disappearances or killed, none of the perpetrators have been brought to justice,” the Mullaitivu Press Club said in a statement on Sunday.  The assault had occurred on the day of “Maaveerar Naal”, a commemorative day observed across the North and East as a mark of respect and remembrance of those who died during the civil war. Although reports show that several courts denied requests by the Sri Lanka Police to ban the planned commemorative events, many media outlets detailed the heavy military presence during the events last Saturday.

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