On the night of October 19, a group of unidentified gunmen approached the home of Nimalarajan, a Jaffna-based journalist who reported for various news organizations, including the BBC’s Tamil and Sinhala-language services, the Tamil-language daily Virakesari, and the Sinhala-language weekly Ravaya.
The assailants shot the journalist through the window of his study, where he was working on an article, and threw a grenade into the home before fleeing the premises. The attack occurred during curfew hours in a high-security zone in central Jaffna town. Army officers were summoned to the house, and they took the journalist to Jaffna Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The journalist’s parents and his 11-year-old nephew were seriously injured in the attack.
Local journalists suspect that Nimalarajan’s reporting on vote-rigging and intimidation in Jaffna during the recent parliamentary elections may have led to his murder.
Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga ordered defense authorities to launch an immediate inquiry into the assassination. In an October 20 letter, CPJ urged the president to ensure that the investigation was pursued vigorously and its findings made public.
Police failed to respond to repeated requests for information regarding the status of the investigation, which appeared to have stalled by year’s end.