Lankadeepa, the blue riband publication of the Wijeya Newspaper group was caught lying with regard to the Aluthgama riots in one of its lead stories published on June 26th in which it said that a “shop owner who set his shop on fire was caught making a false complaint”.
The story was a lead story under the title “Shop owner burns shop and complaints to the Police”
The lead story which was widely circulated in the social media and proved invaluable ammunition to forces which supported the Buddhist extremism purportedly stemmed from a statement by the Police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana.
However, the owner of the shop while denying each and every assertion made by the newspaper in its lead story instead said that he lighted a matchstick on June 15 in the night to locate the padlocks for the three shops.
“I was informed at around 10.30 that my shop was set on fire and I came here and lit a matchstick because I couldnt find the padlock. I lit it in front of everybody who was here. When I walked in a part of the shop was on fire and I found two petrol bombs in it” he said.
An emotional shop owner said that the sniffer dog did not identify him.
“I used the matchstick to open the padlock, this is all built from hardwork I don’t owe a red cent to any bank or anyone. I have two vans and my own house and have earnt all this through hardwork. After the paper article even the Police never questioned me. The Police also had no suspicion.” he said while tearing.
He further iterated that the switchboard is located inside the shop and there was no electricity which is why he had to use a matchstick to locate the keys for the padlocks.
The Lankadeepas sister publication, “ADA” is also accused and widely viewed as a newspaper which empathises with the Bodu Bala Sena Rhetoric and Sinhala Extremism.
In stories carried out daily since the violence, and preceding the violence the ADA newspaper took a stoic supportive stand to the actions of the BBS.
Both newspapers have not condemned the BBS for its actions and the resulting violence and instead portrayed a picture that was out of sync with what was actualy taking place in Aluthgama,
In another lead story the Lankadeepa also said that there were petrol bombs and machets found in Dharga town a Muslim populated area, completley ignoring the ground realities of how such petrol bombs came in to place in the town.
Instead the Lead story gave a portrayal of the Petrol Bombs being hidden by Muslim youth when in fact they were bombs that were found following the riot and were dumped by the roadside.