Centre for Policy Alternatives on 28 March, 2010

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communique 4

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26 March 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV notes with concern the actions of election
officials which violate the integrity of the electoral process, the very
process they are charged with protecting.

Postal Voting

CMEV received reports of 28 postal voting related incidents at the
closure of postal voting on 26th March. CMEV also received
reports of clashes between party members during the postal voting.

North Western Province

Chilaw Bus Depot

CMEV learnt that the Certifying Officer of the above centre compelled
the CMEV Stationary Monitor to alter his observations when he submitted
the observation form to him for attestation yesterday.

CMEV monitor observed that some leaflets of the UPFA candidates were
placed on the tables of the centre and that voters were exchanging
information on which candidates they were vote for.

CMEV has written to the Commissioner and the Puttalam Returning
Officer in this regard.

North Central Province

Zonal Education Office, Anuradhapura

According to CMEV Field Monitor, the Certifying Officer of the above
centre, Abdul Sameedu, did not provide any details to him and said that
he has not been instructed to provide details to election observers.

At around 03.30 pm, CMEV contacted the Assistant Election
Commissioner of Anuradhapura, S.M.S. Bandulasena, who said that he would
intervene in the matter. He requested CMEV to send its Field Monitor to
the particular centre to provide him with further details.

After the intervention of the Assistant Election Commissioner, CMEV
Field Monitor was able to collect the details from the above postal
voting centre.

138 postal votes were registered at the centre.

Kebithigollewa Police Station

CMEV learnt that postal voting at the Kebitihgollewa Police Station
was postponed to 03rd April 2010 since the Police Officers
are on special duty today. Postal voting, however, was held at the
centre yesterday, according to the CMEV FieldMonitor. One hundred and
thirty eight (138) postal votes were registered at the centre.

Wilgamuwa Zonal Education Office,Laggala

CMEV learnt that postal voting at Wilgamuwa Zonal Education Office
was stopped by an Assistant Returning Officer (ARO), N.B.Karunatilake,
at around 10.30 am yesterday on the ground that the procedures were not
properly followed.

According to CMEV Field Monitor,29 out of 192 registered postal
ballots were marked at the time of closure.

On 26th March, CMEV contacted the Assistant Election
Commissioner of the Matale District, DileepNishantha, who informed CMEV
that the two certifying officers of the centre did not participate in
the instruction classes held for them and did not even collect the
required official documents to conduct the polls including the journals.
He further explained that they had not informed party representatives
of the polls at the centre. He also stated that he had instructed the
A.R.O to stop the polls considering the above and the A.R.O’s
observations. According to him postal voting is rescheduled for 30th and 31st March.

A similar incident was reported from the Matale General Hospital.
According to W.K.W.S.Kumarawnasa, Medical Superintendent and the
Certifying Officer, the postal voting of the centre is postponed to 30th and 31st March,as he could not inform the party
representatives.

CMEV contacted Kuamrawansa on this account. He informed CMEV that he
did not receive some required information from the Election Department
and managed to collect the documents only yesterday. According to him,
he was unable to inform the party representative since he didn’t receive
lists from the Returning Officer.

CMEV contacted the Assistant Election Commissioner.He stated that he
did not receive any information about the postponement of the postal
voting at the centre as yet, and that he will look into the matter.

Northern Province

Manthi West Pradeshiya Sabha

On 26th March, CMEV Field Monitor reported that all
applications from the above centre were rejected due to late submission.
CMEV learnt that 19 applications were submitted to the centre.

CMEV contacted Samson Jennings, the Certifying Officer of the
centre.  He told CMEV that the applications for postal voting had been
sent on the 24th of February and that the delay could be due
to late delivery by the postal department.

CMEV recorded a similar incident from the Mannar Police Station in
which 56 out of 399 applications were rejected due to late submission.

On 25th March, CMEV received reports that 150-200
applications for postal voting from the Vavuniya STF camp were rejected
due to various reasons.

CMEV Field Monitor visited the Security Forces Head Quarters, Vanni
and CI A.D.G.P.Amarasinghe informed him that there are several STF camps
within the Vanni region and that a number of applications for postal
voting from each camp were rejected due to various reasons. He explained
that the total is not from a particular camp.

Election Violence

CMEV received reports regarding intra and inter party clashes between
candidates and supporters of both leading political parties during the
last two days. Recent incidents are highlighted below:

UPFA supporters assaulted in Kinniya

On 25th March, CMEV received reports regarding an attack
on the supporters of UPFA candidate Najeeb A Majeed(candidate no 03).

According UPFA District Coordinator, Mr.Faris, they were assaulted by
the supporters of UNP candidate M.S.Thowfeek(candidate no 06) near the
Jawahir Junction ,Kinniya at around 06.40 pm. Two UPFA supporters were
severely injured due to the attack and initially admitted to the Kinniya
Hospital Base Hospital and transferred to the Trincomalee General
Hospital.

CMEV learnt that A.Mubaris known as Ramzi, a victim, has been
transferred to the Kandy General Hospital on 26th March,
subsequently.

On 26th March CMEV contacted the Kinniya Police Station,
Election OIC, Karunaratne informed CMEV that they have not yet received a
complaint regarding the attack and that they came to know about the
incident last night. He further noted that the attack was not
politically motivated.

UPFA supporter assaulted in Medirigiriya

On 24th March at around 03.20 pm, Shantha Abeyaratne, a
UPFA supporter, was assaulted by a group of supporters of UNP candidate
Sidney Jayaratne(candidate no 03) who came in a van(58-6644) belonging
to the candidate, in Al-Hilalpura, Pulasthigama, Medirigiriya. The
victim was admitted to ward no 10 of the Polonnaruwa General Hospital
and subsequently discharged on 26th March.

Sydney Jayaratne denied involvement in the incident and informed CMEV
that he came to know that a complaint has been lodged against him in
the Pulastigama Police Station.

CMEV Field Monitor visited the Pulastigama Police Station on 25th March and confirmed the incident. According to him, a complaint (CIB2
52/131) has been lodged with the Police by the victim on the same day.
Two accused and the vehicle involved in the incident were taken into the
Police custody on 25th morning.

Clash between UPFA supporters in Monaragala

On 25th March 2010, CMEV received a complaint from UPFA
candidate Vijitha Berugoda(candidate no 02) that UPFA candidate Vijitha
Muni Soysa(candidate no 04) and his supporters attacked him and his
supporters with wooden batons and stones. Three of his supporters were
injured due to the attack and admitted to the Bibile District Hospital.

When contacted, Vijitha Muni Soysa informed CMEV that he was
responsible for transporting people to the UPFA meeting held in Bibile
yesterday, under the patronage of the President MahindaRajapakshe.  He
alleges that when the people were transported to the meeting, supporters
of Vijitha Berugoda obstructed them opposite his residence, and
attacked the buses with stones.

CMEV learnt that both parties had made complaints to the Bibile
Police Station.

On 26th March CMEV contacted the Bibile Police Station. A
women police officer, who did not mention her name, confirmed that they
received a complaint (EIB 212/30) from Vijitha Muni Soysaand a counter
complaint (EIB 229/40) from Vijitha Berugoda.

As of 26th March CMEV has confirmed 214 incidents of
election related violence, including 131 Major Incidents.Use of firearms
has risen to 33.CMEV has confirmed 40 instances of the Misuse of Public
Property for electioneering.

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqu? 4
Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqu? 4