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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Sri Lanka journalists condemn killing
Sri Lankan soldiers
Mr Nimalarajan reported on the conflict in the Jaffna peninsula
Journalists in Sri Lanka have condemned the killing of a BBC reporter in a grenade and gun attack on his home in the north of the country.

Mayilvaganam Nimalarajan died when gunmen fired shots through the window of his study and lobbed a grenade into the living room of his house in Jaffna.


Nimalarajan was one of the few sources of independent news from the Jaffna peninsula

Committee to Protect Journalists
Mr Nimalarajan, 38, was a regular contributor to the BBC Sinhala and Tamil services.

He also worked for several other foreign and local media organisations.

He was renowned for his coverage of the separatist war and the bitter in-fighting between Tamil political parties in government-controlled areas of the peninsula.

During recent elections, he had reported extensively on allegations of vote-rigging and the problems of people displaced by the war between Tamil separatists and government forces.

Media rights organisations said they were distressed by the attack.

"We hope this will not set a trend," Waruna Karunatilleke of the Free Media Movement said.

"The government must immediately take action to arrest the suspects," he said.

Mr Nimalarajan's parents, who are in their 60s, and his 11-year-old nephew were injured in the attack.

But his wife, Periyamalar and three daughters were in another room and were not hurt.


The newspaper people are now living in fear

Jaffna journalist
Colleagues said Mr Nimalarajan had recently filed reports critical of a former Tamil militant group.

"Nimalarajan was one of the few sources of independent news from the Jaffna peninsula, where journalists are not allowed free access," the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said.

Jaffna 'tense'

A local journalist told the French news agency AFP that tension was high in Jaffna after the killing, and that "newspaper people are now living in fear".

No-one has said they carried out the attack.

It came after another day of violence in Sri Lanka.

On Thursday, a suspected Tamil Tiger suicide bomber set off a powerful blast in the capital, Colombo, killing at least three people and injuring 21 others.

Fighting between government forces and Tamil separatists seeking an independent homeland continued continued in the north.

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See also:

19 Oct 00 | South Asia
Sri Lanka alert after bombing
10 Oct 00 | South Asia
Violence mars Sri Lanka poll
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