The office of a Tamil newspaper in Scarborough, Canada has come under an attack, the Star website reported. The attack came just hours after the Editor of the Tamil newspaper received threatening phone calls.
According to the Star website, the Canada Uthayan newspaper office, not affiliated with the Uthayan newspaper in Sri Lanka, was attacked as a result of a meeting the Editor of the Canadian newspaper had with President Mahinda Rajapaksa recently.
The front window of Uthayan newspaper’s office looked like a “vehicle drove right through it” when Kula Sellathurai arrived at the scene.
Overnight, Sellathurai said, the newspaper’s editor received a threatening call and hours later its office on Progress Rd., near Markham Rd. and Highway 401, was vandalized.
Police are on scene, but said their investigation is still in the early stages.
The threats stemmed from a recent meeting Sellathurai, President of the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council and the United Tamil Council of Canada, had with the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The meeting was covered in Uthayan, a paper widely read by Toronto’s Sri Lankan diaspora, as well as Sri Lankan media and websites.
Sellathurai said the call made to newspaper editor Logan Logendralingam said, “your friends went and met the president, now you go and see what happened to your store.”
When Logendralingam arrived he saw the damage. The whole front of the store was smashed, Sellathurai said.
Neither he nor police could estimate the cost of the damage done.
The presidential meeting came about after Sellathurai delivered funds raised by Tamil businesses in Canada for children orphaned and displaced in Sri Lanka. Sellathurai called his meeting with the president “very positive,” and said Rajapaksa vowed to work through the “ethnic issues” in the country.
The vandals were “trying to send a message” to Logendralingam to “not carry that message,” said Sellathurai.
Sellathurai describes Uthayan as a “neutral” paper that carries news about both the Tamil community and the mainly-Sinhalese Sri Lankan government. “We are not against the Tamil people and their struggle,” he said.
Sellathurai said this is the first harm done to the newspaper. However, when the Tamil community held a symbolic vote to create an independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka last December, Uthayan was pulled from three GTA stores and replaced with pro-referendum leaflets.
Editor Logendralingam said at the time the paper was maliciously pulled because of its limited coverage of the vote.