When India Kills Journalists

Originally published on 25th Oct 2018.

After the brutal murder of Washington Post’s Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi death squad, the American media for the first time has even tried to consider that there might be questions about Saudi regime’s legitimacy on human right ground. Record of Indian squads attacking journalists, like other “misadventures” (read “crimes”) of Indian armed forces are easily lost in the memory hole of Indian intellectual culture.

In the late 1987 there were four newspapers in the Jaffna region of northern Sri Lanka, ‘Eelamurasu’, organ of the LTTE; ‘Uthayan’ and ‘Eelanadu’, which rarely had any news content in and; ‘Murasoli’, that started in 1986, was the only independent newspaper in the region. Its founder and editor Sinnadurai Thiruchelvam was arrested multiple times by the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) and his 17 year old son was brutally murdered by Indian backed and trained EPRLF on May 10th 1987.

This was before the October indecent that turned the IPKF and LTTE murderously against each other and that led to murder, rapes, kidnapping and destruction of agriculture in the Jaffna region by the IPKF. Later this month Indian forces also bombed the offices of ‘Murasoli’ and ‘Eelamurasu.’

On October 21-22 1987. IPKF killed over 200 patients, staff members and civilians in the Jaffna Hospital. The details are sketchy for obvious reasons – no wittiness was left alive, and local media was silenced. But according to Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Indian forces attacked the hospital claiming the LTTE militants were in hiding.

None of this was every reported by the most liberal section Indian media like India Today, the only Indian publication that had a reporter in Jaffna and ran a cover story in November about the hard time Indian forces were having because of restrictions on killing civilians; and also Frontline, which until 1986 were reporting about the atrocities of all sides but ignored the IPKF atrocities when they began.

This is not an exercise in historical study. But this attitude of Indian forces and media is still alive and has gotten even worse over the decade. Indian forces by definition can never do any wrong or crime and in many cases are the victims, from Kashmir to Chattishghar where Indian forces bomb its population from helicopters.

This week marked the 31st anniversary of the Jaffna Hospital Massacre by the IPKF.

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