South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By Abdul H. Azeez

Two prominent journalists were subject to attack and harassment on Monday, February 7. Poovi Rahmathulla of Kattankudy was attacked outside a mosque in Kattankudy as he was waiting to meet a party of people who had requested 50 copies of his newspaper.

“Someone called me in the morning and asked me to deliver 50 copies of my paper to them that evening. As I was waiting for them outside the mosque, some men accosted and attacked me,” said Rahmathulla speaking to The Sunday Leader.

Rahmathulla says that he had lodged a complaint in the Kattankudy Police Station and that he was familiar with one of his attackers whom he had met before and even exchanged greetings with, but didn’t know by name.

Rahmathulla’s paper, a weekly called ‘Vaara Uraikal’ enjoys a high circulation in Kattankudy and sells about 1500 copies a week. It is well known for its exposés; the most recent of which concerned a defence fund embezzlement case by a local politician.

Rahmathullah edits, typesets and prints the newspaper largely by himself and has been in the media industry for almost three decades working for many prominent newspapers in the country.

The other journalist to be harassed was D.B. Elkaduwa, formerly of the Dinakara paper and previously attached to Lake House. He received a phone call from an acquaintance on February 6, 2011 warning him of a possible attack on his home that night. He left his residence and lodged a police entry K .S. E ii 222/111. When he returned home the next day, he says that a Land Rover jeep arrived at his house and several policemen approached him with a search warrant.

“I gave them permission to search my house and after thoroughly looking through my files they went away with my computer saying that they needed to carry out further investigations,” he said. He added that upon making inquiries he had found that a complaint had been made against him stating that he was looking for evidence of war crimes on the part of the government and that he was engaging in generally ‘anti state’ media activity.

Source: The Sunday Leader – 13.02.2011