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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home  >Tamils - a Trans State Nation > Struggle for Tamil Eelam  > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists   > UTHR(J) - a  mouthpiece of Sri Lankan government

Censorship, Disinformation & Murder of Journalists

UTHR(J) - a  mouthpiece of Sri Lankan government

Canada, 11 August 2000

UCAN is the official news agency of the Catholic Church in Asia. The news story filed by its correspondent from Colombo on August 02,2000 quoted UTHR (J) Bulletin No.23 which accused, inter alia, the Tamil Service of Radio Veritas as a mouthpiece for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). It further quoted the Bulletin, which accused the Catholic Church of supporting separatist Tamil rebels.

"Unsavoury regimes these days hire the best talent available to spruce up their international image... The PR technique is simple enough: minimise the human rights abuses, talk about it as a 'complex' two sided story, play up efforts at reform, speak of all the positive 'modernisation' that is going on ... If possible, it is best to put these words in the mouth of some apparently 'neutral' group of 'concerned citizens', or a lofty institute with academic credentials."  (Richard Swift, New Internationalist, in Mind Games, July 1999)

This refers to the  UCAN news story "Sri Lanka Human Rights Group accuses Church of supporting separatist Tamil Groups"(UCAN - August 2, 2000)

In the first place this human rights group UTHR (J) is an organization which does not speak for or on behalf of the teachers of the University of Jaffna.

The Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University had disowned this organisation as non-existent. The resolution passed at the 142nd Meeting of the Council of University of Jaffna held on January 18, 1992 stated thus-

"It has been brought to the notice of the council of University of Jaffna that a publication titled  'Human Rights in Jaffna' has been put in the name of the University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna Branch. The council wishes to inform the public that this publication is neither a publication of the University of Jaffna nor any of its teachers are associated with this publication".

This being the case it is  unethical for this so called human rights group to project itself as a group representing the teachers of the Jaffna University. This human rights group consisting of two siblings Rajan Hoole and Jeevan Hoole and one Sri Tharan represent no body but themselves. Sri Tharan is employed as a lecturer at the Moratuwa University, while Prof. Jeevan Hoole is attached to the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Colombo...

Recently the Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University, Prof. Pinnaduwage, refused an extension of service to Prof. Jeevan Hoole on the grounds he is a "security risk". Sometime last year, Rajan Hoole and his wife were arrested by the security forces on a "search and round-up" security operation of suspected Tigers in Colombo, then taken and locked up at one of the police station in the city for several hours and treated very shabbily before some influential people rescued them.

These incidents demonstrate the fact that even Tamil supporters of President Chnadrika Kumaratunga are considered "suspects" and "security risks" and treated persona non-grata  by sections of Sinhalese officialdom.

The bulletins published by the gang of three lack credibility and objectivity. The bulletins, are distributed by the Sri Lankan army, which stands accused by Amnesty International of carrying out cold-blooded murders, extra-judicial killings, involuntary- disappearances, torture and rape of innocent Tamil youths.

Tamil Child in the VanniRadio Veritas is reporting the human suffering and deprivation of close to half-a million Tamil refugees languishing in the mosquitoes infested jungles of Vanni. This is something any religious organization that believes in justice, fairness and Christian charity should do, more so Veritas an organization committed to spread the word of truth.

The accusation that Veritas is indulging in "propaganda on behalf of the rebels" is palpably false. What it really does is to expose the evils of violence and war. To my mind Veritas is standing on the side of justice in the war between good and evil! Between freedom and slavery! Between the oppressed and the oppressor!

It will be very un-Christian if Veritas is to turn a blind eye to the horrendous human rights violations committed by the Sri Lankan government's armed forces against a defenceless people. It is an insult to the intelligence, learning and intellect of the Catholic priests for the UTHR (J) to make the spurious claim that " through a handful of priests the LTTE been able to push the CHURCH to support its propaganda."

How can the LTTE fighting the Sinhala army in the jungles of Vanni "push the CHURCH" to support its propaganda? Is the CHURCH so weak, feeble and pliant that a guerrilla group can push it around?

That will be an affront to the 2000 years old CHURCH founded by St. Peter! I have heard Father Gaspar Raj who heads the Veritas Tamil service is going out of the way to denounce all forms of violence. It did not matter to him whether it is Tamil or Sinhala violence.

Over the years, he has become a source of hope and solace to thousands of war victims, women who lost their husbands, men who lost their wives, parents who lost their sons and daughters. The thousands of letters he receive every month are proof that people do appreciate his humble services.

I hope Father Gaspar Raj will ignore the mudslinging campaign to tarnish Veritas Tamil service, by some self-seeking individuals and  'human rights groups' like the UTHR (J). He should continue to be the voice of the voiceless and bear the cross on behalf of the oppressed people.


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