Krishni says she was told ‘don’t make trouble’

Internews employee, Krishni Ifham, yesterday said that though she earlier believed her abductors took her to Kandy (town), they may have actually taken her to a spot about 40 to 45 minutes driving distance away from the town where they questioned her regarding her work.

At the end of a 45 minute ‘interview’, she had been warned and told that there wouldn’t be any further warnings. ``Although I wasn’t ordered not to write, one of the three abductors told me not to cause trouble,’’ she said.

"They took me blindfolded into a rundown room where they were a few chairs and some books on a table," she said. Asked whether she had heard any sound such as that of a train or a waterway, she replied in the negative.

While the van in which she was driven had curtains so that she could not see outside or seen from outside the vehicle, she had been blindfolded moments before she was taken to the place of interrogation.

"We turned towards a lane and traveled a short distance before I was asked to get down. One of them took me by my hand and guided me to a room. Once I sat down, they removed the blindfold," she said, adding that during the questioning she was offered a fish bun and sachet of milk.

She said though her abductors questioned her regarding her work, particularly her articles in a post LTTE era, they seemed conversant with her work.

The driver of the van in which she was taken from outside her Wattala home and another sat in the front of the vehicle and the other sat behind with her during their ride to Kandy.

"Although the men in the front exchanged a few words with each other, I hardly heard anything, she said, adding that the other person didn’t utter a word.

Krishni, a mother of two, said that she would have gladly given a statement to the police had they wanted one.

Responding to our queries, she said that though she wouldn’t accuse anybody of responsibility for her ordeal, taking her blindfolded to wherever she was questioned was most stressful.

The former Virakesari staffer said that though she had lodged complaints with the police, the possibility of law enforcement authorities tracking down the White Van Squad seemed remote.

She had a short stint with Lankapuvath and PANOS which had been investigated by a Parliamentary Select Committee headed by JVP frontliner Vijitha Herath before joining Internews where she now works.

Krishni was the second journalist to be targeted after a recent furore over a list naming a group of media personalities accused of being on the payroll of the LTTE.

Lake House journalist Poddala Jayantha, the Secretary of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, was recently attacked in the immediate aftermath of a section of the media launching a campaign at the behest of the government against journalists allegedly on the Tigers’ payroll.

Media Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told a recent press conference that media personalities, too, were under investigation for their alleged involvement though Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa subsequently denied any knowledge of such an investigation.

Abeywardena also refused to name the journalists under investigation though Lankadeepa staffer Vinitha Gamage, on behalf of the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association, requested him to name those involved and spare innocents of being tarred with the Tiger brush.

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