|26 young suspected former LTTE members were killed by a mob of a few hundred Sinhalese villagers armed with knives, rods and torches while the inmates were sleeping in Bindunuwewa detention centre in October 2004.
The Sri Lankan Army detachment that was posted there had been withdrawn the previous day, for unknown reasons.
After a years-long investigations and trials, all of the accused, including police officers, were acquitted and released.
Mr. Deshapriya says the attitude by the Sinhala media is a reflection of Tamil media coverage under the LTTE.
“During the ceasefire between the LTTE and the government, we carried out a research in the LTTE-controlled areas,” he said.
“Tamil newspapers were behaving as if no murder was carried out by the LTTE. While the Tamil media was accusing the government for every abuse, the Sinhala media were accusing the government for every murder and abduction.”
Dr. Manoharan says apart from the institutional nationalism, some journalists were intimidated by the parties not to report the truth in a conflict situation.
SS Raja, who accurately reported the killing of five Tamil students according to Dr. Manoharan, was gunned down within few weeks.
The medical doctor who has treated many Sinhala security force personnel in Trincomalee has since fled the country with other family members due to fear for their life.
“I am very sad to hear incidents of police abuses in the south. But if the media in the south accurately reported the killing in Trincomalee, these unfortunate incidents would have been avoided.”