Abducted Tamil journalist tells of mother’s anguish

Yet another a Sri Lankan journalist was kidnapped last week near her home in the capital Colombo. She was held for a day by people claiming to be the police.

Krishni Ifham, a mother of two children is a Tamil reporter who works for media development NGO Internews. She said the kidnappers had warned her to give up journalism altogether, according to BBC.

Krishni’s remarks about her ordeal, published in the Sunday Times of June 28th tell the anguish faced by many parents and others who fear for the safety of their loved ones:

Krishni Ifam

Journalist was taken in van from Wattala to Kandy

Journalist and NGO employee Krishni Kandasamy, the most recent victim of media harassment, said she had worried about how her disappearance would affect her mother’s health all the while she was being held by her abductors.

“My mother is in the habit of calling me at office several times a day,” she said. “I knew how anxious she would be the moment she heard I had not turned up at the office. I begged my abductors to allow me to tell my mother that I was okay.”

Ms. Kandasamy, a resident of Wattala, Colombo, was abducted last week by three men in civilian clothes who claimed to be policemen. She was driven to an unknown destination and questioned. When she was finally dropped off, she found herself in Kandy, from where she had to find her way back to Colombo.

She said she had stepped into the street to head to work when she was stopped by three men in a van who told her she was required to give a statement to the police. When she insisted that she had to inform her mother first, she was forced into the van and driven away.

“It was then around 8.30 am. It was around 2.45 in the afternoon when I was taken to a room for questioning. During the long drive, I had no idea where I was being taken,” Ms. Kandasamy said.

Because she kept saying she had to call her mother to say she was safe, she was finally allowed to make the call, just before she was led in for questioning.

“They let me make the call from my mobile phone. I told my mother I had been taken in by the police for questioning and that she need not worry. When she asked where the police station was, I said I did not know. I was about to tell her to inform my husband when the phone was taken away from me.”

Her mother then called Mrs. Kandasamy’s husband, Ifham Nizam, also a journalist, and a few others, who immediately started calling police stations in the Wattala area. None of the stations said that anyone by the name of Kandasamy was being detained.

After being questioned about her work, Ms. Kandasamy was led back to the van and driven for more than two hours before being finally dropped off in Kandy.

“I told the men I had no money to take a bus. They gave me Rs. 200 and asked me to go home. I got into a bus and called my husband and told him what had happened,” she said.

Related editorial on The Island: The return of the white van

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