Three Tamil journalists were harassed and threatened by Sri Lankan soldiers on the 21st March while reporting on an ongoing protest by families of the disappeared in Maruthankerny.
The journalists were photographed en route to the protest, were threatened and made to leave by soldiers from the protest itself and then were followed and harassed on their way home.
One of the journalists recounted the incident to Tamil Guardian:
“Three of us from Jaffna and Chavakachcheri went to this protest. On the way soldiers took photos of us, but we thought that just happens all the time anyway. We finished our work and when we were going back we saw soldiers engaged in construction work at a site near the protest. So we took photos of that too then set off back to Jaffna.
It was on the way back that two soldiers were following us on motorcycles. They started shouting at us to stop, in broken Tamil. There were no other people around in that area, so we didn’t stop there. So the soldiers chased us for around 7 kilometres and finally cut us off near Puthukaadu junction.
They asked us why we had come. When we replied that we were reporters, they noted down our motorcycle license plate numbers and told us that we needed their permission if we wanted to come there.
Then they threatened us to not stop anywhere but to go straight back to Jaffna.
One of them approached us as if to attack, so we gave in and apologised and they finally let us go.”