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Sri Lanka arrests web journalist

Repression of Tamils continues despite reconciliation claims

Police in Sri Lanka have arrested the editor of a news website critical of the government in a move local journalists say is intended to scare them into keeping quiet, reports the BBC.

Police say that Bennett Rupasinghe, editor of LankaeNews.com, was arrested for allegedly threatening another man, the news channel said.

According to a researcher who speaks regularly with Sri Lanka-based diplomats and Tamil activists, little has changed on the ground in the troubled country since the bloody massacre that brought its long civil war to an end -- apart from the daily shelling of civilians. Not long ago, for instance, a school principal was murdered in unexplained circumstances after he told students they could sing the national anthem in Tamil if they so desired.

According to a web posting on Groundviews.org:

The drive along the A9 from Vavuniya to Killinochchi is brought to a temporary halt at the ‘exit-entry point’ at what used to be the forward defence line at Omanthai. On the side of the dusty dirt road, in a series of sheds, military personnel are stationed with the sole purpose of ensuring that both locals and international staff members of non-governmental and international non-governmental organisations and even UN agencies, possess the required clearances issued by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to cross into the North. All foreigners, that is those holding non-Sri Lankan passports, even tourists, have to obtain a MOD clearance to pass through Omanthai. One could be excused for thinking this was 2002, when entering the Vanni was much like entering a foreign territory. Yet it is 2011, more than a year and a half since the end of the war between the government and the LTTE. In 2011, more so than during the years of active armed conflict, increasing military control of civilian administration and control over the lives of civilians in the North have become an undeniable part of life in the North.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/bric-yard/sri-lanka-arrests-web-journalist