Centre for Policy Alternatives on 1 April, 2010

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqu? 8

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31 March 2010, Colombo, Sri
Lanka:
CMEV notes with concern the intensification of both
inter and intra party violence in the lead up to the polls on 08th April. CMEV highlights the increasing number of assaults, resulting in
injuries, hurt and grievous hurt. CMEV has confirmed 72 such incidents,
which constitute 44% of the confirmed total of 161 Major incidents.

Recent incidents of election related violence are highlighted below;

Lack of Coordination between Election Officials

On 31st March CMEV learnt that the CMEV District
Coordinator in Badulla was officially informed by the Assistant Election
Commissioner of the Badulla District, T.A.C.N.Talangama in his letter
dated on 24th March that CMEV and PAFFEREL Mobile Monitors
would not be allowed into the polling booths.

The Election Commissioner has given approval for CMEV and PAFFEREL
Mobile Monitors to enter polling centres in which their Stationary
Monitors are not deployed, in his letter dated 06th March
2010.  The letter was addressed to all the Returning Officers, Deputy,
Senior and Assistant Election Commissioners.

CMEV contacted the respective Assistant Election Commissioner.  The
latter informed CMEV that in a meeting with the Election Commissioner,
they were told that local Mobile Observers would not be allowed to enter
the polling centres. He further stated that he was not aware of the
letter of 06th March.

When CMEV contacted the Election Department in this regard, the
Additional Election Commissioner, W.P. Sumansiri stated that he was only
aware of the Commissioner’s approval to local Monitors to enter polling
centres and that he was not aware of this approval being withdrawn, as
stated in the Assistant Election Commissioner’s letter.

CMEV has written to the Election Commissioner and the Respective
Assistant Election Commissioner in this regard with relevant references.

Intra party disputes

CMEV continues to receive reports regarding intra party violence.
CMEV has recorded 58 instances of UPFA intra party violence of which 45
are categorized as Major. CMEV received 01 such incident (Major) against
the UNP in the Kurunegala District.

CMEV has confirmed 10 UPFA intra party clashes from the Anuradhapura
District, while 07 such incidents have been reported from the Matara
District. CMEV has confirmed 06 Major incidents of UPFA intra party
violence from the Badulla District. Six (06) intra party clashes are
reported from the Ratnapura District. Four (04) such instances were
reported from the Matale, Nuwara-Eliya and Gampaha Districts
respectively. Three (03) incidents each of UPFA intra party violence
were received from the Kalutara and Puttalam Districts. Furthermore, 02
each incidents were reported from the Kegalle, Kandy, Monaragala, Vanni
and Digamadulla Districts.  One (01) incident of UPFA intra party
violence is reported from the Kurunagala District.

Abduction reported in Puttalam: CMEV Field Monitor
reported that M.Riflas, a member of the political wing of the People
Revival Front, was abducted by an unknown group on 31st March
at around 11.25 am in Madina Nagar, Palavi.

CMEV contacted M.Munafdeen, Secretary of the People Revival Front. He
informed CMEV that the perpetrators traveled in a red Pickup Truck
(2007/2008 CC). He suspected them of being supporters of the incumbent
Minister of Re-settlement and Disaster Relief Services and UPFA
candidate for the Vanni District, Rishard Badiudeen(candidate no 01).

CMEV learnt that Riflas was released at around 12.30 pm today and
that the party is an ally of the UPFA.

When CMEV contacted Riflas, he said that he was abducted by Mujahir-
who reportedly is associated with RsihardBadiudeen- and two others and
brought to a UPFA party office near the Thillayadi Railway Station. He
further stated that he was assaulted and verbally threatened by them not
to engage in politics. According to him, a complaint had been lodged
with the Puttlam Police Station and his statement was recorded by PC
Nimal(41189)

CMEV contacted the Police. OIC Gunasekara informed CMEV that they
came to know about the incident but no one had complained to the Police
as yet. He further stated that when they investigated on the basis of
information received, they came to know that the person allegedly
abducted had been released.

Clash between two UPFA groups in Nuwaraeliya: CMEV
received a complaint from S.B.Ratnayake, a brother of UPFA candidate
C.B.Ratnayake (candidate no 02) that their supporters were assaulted by a
group of supporters of the Chairman of the Central Provincial Council,
Saliya Bandara Dissanayake in Udawatha Kumbura,Hanguranketha on 30th March at around 12.30 pm. He alleged that around 20 supporters of
Saliya Bandara Dissanayake assaulted his supporters with weapons.
According to him, they were carrying a pistol, a repeater, a shotgun,
3.8 mm pistol and a sickle. They have identified 05 of the perpetrators
namely D.V.J.Vithanage, Alfred Hettiarachchi, Siripala Siriwardhana,
Nishantha Ratnayake and Ashoka Dissanayake. Ajantha Bandara, a supporter
of C.B.Ratnayake, sustained head injuries. Two others were also injured
in the attack.

CMEV learnt that Saliya Bandara Dissanyake campaigns in support of
UPFA candidate Nimal Piyatissa (candidate no 01).

When CMEV contacted Saliya Bandara Dissanayke in this regard, he
informed CMEV that supporters of C.B.Ratnayake unnecessarily increased
the volume of the loudspeakers while they were passing land belonging to
him and attempted to attack his supporters. He further stated that as a
defensive measure his supporters attacked them.

CMEV contacted the Hanguranketha Police Station. Election OIC, Sarath
Ariyananda, confirmed the incident and informed CMEV that they have
received a complaint (EIB 44) from S.B.Ratnayake.

CMEV learnt that according to the Police complaint only one person
was injured in the attack and that no one had been admitted to hospital.

Public Property Misuse

On 31st March CMEV Field Monitor reported that propaganda
materials of UPFA candidate Chamika Budhadasa (candidate no 03) were
displayed in a blue Isuzu cab (253-7122) belonging to the Ministry of
Health of the Uva Provinicial Council.

CMEV learnt that the candidate is son of the Uva Provincial Council
Health Minister, A.H.M.Budhadasa.

On above CMEV contacted Chamika Budhadasa who categorically denied
the allegation.

When CMEV contacted the Health Ministry of the Uva Provincial
Council, Assistant Secretary, Mrs.P. Athiraja, informed CMEV that the
vehicle is for official work of the Minister and that she is not aware
of whether it was being used for campaigning activities..

DNA candidate assaulted in Matale

March CMEV Field Monitor reported that P.G.Sunil Shantha (candidate
no 06) was assaulted by a supporter of UPFA candidate Lakshman Wasantha
Perera(candidate no 01) near the Naula Bus Stand on 30th March at around 12.45 pm. The victim was admitted to the Nalanada
Divisional Hospital and discharged the following day.

CMEV contacted the victim. He informed CMEV that he was threatened
against campaigning in the Naula area and then assaulted. He further
stated that he lodged a complaint with the Naula Police Station in this
regard.

Attempts to contact Lakshman Wasantha Perera were not successful.

As of 31st March, CMEV has confirmed 277 incidents of
election related violence including 161 Major Incidents. The Use of
Fire- arms and the Misuse of Public Property has risen to 40 and 44
respectively.

All CMEV reports and communiqués and the CMEV Incidents
Google Map can be accessed online at
http://cmev.wordpress.com