CPJ calls for justice after attack kills three in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu

New York, May 11, 2007—The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the deaths of three employees of the Tamil-language daily Dinakaran who were killed in an attack on the newspaper’s offices in the eastern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

“We are horrified by the attack on Dinakaran newspaper and mourn these three deaths,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Those responsible must be brought to justice.”

Two computer engineers and a security guard died of asphyxiation after a group of people threw firebombs into offices housing Dinakaran, Sun TV, and other media outlets during a protest, according to The Associated Press. The protesters were angry with an opinion poll published by Dinakaran that indicated public support for M.K. Stalin’s bid for election as chief minister of Tamil Nadu, a post currently held by his father M. Karunanidhi. Stalin’s chief political rival is his elder brother, M.K. Azhagiri.

The victims were identified as engineers M. Vind Kumar and G. Gopinath and security guard K. Muthuranalingam, according to the news Web site New Kerala.

Journalists at the affected news outlets held protests on Thursday urging the arrest of Azhagiri, whom they held responsible for the attack. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi today called on federal authorities to investigate the incident.

“Since the case concerned my family members, a probe by Tamil Nadu police is not sufficient and hence I have decided that the investigation should be done by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” said Karunanidhi, according to Agence-France Presse.

Twelve people were arrested in connection with the attack, according to news reports.