Sri Lankan newspaper office bombed

The office of Uthayan, a Tamil-language daily, in Jaffna was hit with an explosive device around 11 p.m. on March 24, 2009. Most Sri Lankan media reports identified the weapon as a hand grenade. It was the fifth time in three years that the office had been attacked. 

There were no injures to the small number of staff still working at the paper, two of whom live at the paper’s office, but a police officer who was assigned to provide security for the paper was wounded. Media speculation was that the attack was because the paper had not given prominent enough coverage to an anti-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam demonstration in Jaffna or because the paper had printed a story on civilian casualties in the LTTE’s fighting with the government.

Nadesapillai Vidyatharan, who lives in Colombo and is Uthayan’s editor and editor of the Tamil daily sister paper Sudar Oli, was arrested at a friend’s funeral in a Colombo suburb on February 26. Prosecutors have tried to tie him to a February 20 suicide air attack on Colombo in which two LTTE planes were shot down, the two pilots were killed, and more than 45 people were injured.