Centre for Policy Alternatives on 22 January, 2010

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqu? No. 20

Categories:
 

Released 21 January 2010, download this
report in full as a PDF here.

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Western Province

Alleged Shooting in Gampaha District

According to Western Provincial Councilor Mr. Kithsiri Manchanayake
(UNP), at approximately 3.00am this morning, a group of unidentified
persons who arrived in 5 or 6 vehicles, attacked the party office as
well as home of UNP supporter Mr. Premadasa, located at Kalumada,
Divulapitiya. According to Coordinating Secretary to Mr. Manchanayake
Mr. Anura Jayantha, the attackers fired several shots in the air, at
which point Mr. Premadasa’s family had fled their home. The attackers
had then damaged the doors, windows, furniture and electrical goods in
Mr. Premadasa’s house, and fled the location.

Divulapitiya Police OIC Mahinda Udugama told CMEV that the Police had
visited the location and that damage had been caused to the house and
furniture. He added that the party office was unlawful. When questioned
regarding whether shots were fired, OIC Udugama told CMEV that they had
received information that shots were fired, but that they found no
bullet casings at the location. When questioned regarding the identities
of the attackers, OIC Udugama stated that he felt that the complainants
may be withholding information regarding the identities of the
attackers out of fear. OIC Udugama refused to provide CMEV with the
complaint number and also refused to confirm if the incident was lodged
in the Elections Information Book or in the Crimes Information Book.

When contacted, Mr. Premadasa told CMEV that between 10.30pm and
11.00pm, a group of persons who arrived in vehicles had torn up cut outs
and decorations of the party office. Mr. Premadasa had then gone to the
Divulapitiya Police and lodged a complaint regarding this attack. A
Police team including the OIC had arrived at the scene, examined the
damages and obtained statements related to the incident.

Subsequently, between 11.00pm and 12.00 midnight, approximately 6
persons had arrived at Mr. Premadasa’s house and threatened him, stating
that they would kill Mr Premadasa and his family if they vote for
General Fonseka. Mr. Premadasa had recognized one of the attackers as
Mr. M. Siripala, the President of the UPFA Kalumada Sub Office. No
complaint was made to the Police regarding this threat.

According to Mr. Premadasa, between 1.00am and 1.30am approximately
10 to 12 persons had arrived at his house in 5 to 6 vehicles, fired
several shots in the air, and then fired 4 shots at the door of his
house. Mr. Premadasa and his family were hiding at the time but had seen
the incident take place. The attackers then proceeded to destroy
furniture and electrical goods as initially reported.

While no bullet casings were found on the location, the CMEV monitor
has confirmed, that there were clear indications of bullet holes on the
walls and door of the house, despite the statement made by the OCI of
the Divulapitiya Police that there was no evidence of a shooting.

Eastern Province

A series of Threats and Intimidation in Trincomalee

According to UNP Organizer for Trincomalee Mr. Sundaram Sivaplan, he
and his associates had received a series of threats from UPFA (Karuna)
supporters on the 18th, 19th and 20th of January.

On the 18th of January at approximately 4.00pm Mr.
Sivakumaran and Mr. Paneerchelvam were pasting NDF posters at
Kappatturai in the vicinity of the Hindu Kovil, when 3 unidentified
persons who arrived at the scene carrying weapons, had pointed a gun at
Mr. Sivakumaran’s forehead and chest, and threatened that he should not
work for NDF. The attackers had also given Mr. Sivakumaran approximately
150 posters of the incumbent President and asked him to paste those
instead.

On the 19th of January, at approximately 10.00am, a group
of 7 unidentified persons had come to Mr. Sivapalan’s house located at
Inner Harbour Road, and asked in Sinhalese who Sundaram Sivapalan was.
Mr. Sivapalan had said he did not know who Sundaram Sivapalan was, at
which point the unidentified persons left the location.

Later that evening, at 7.00pm, 2 unidentified persons had arrived at
Mr. Sivapalan’s house, and taken photographs of the house. Mr. Sivapalan
added that unidentified persons had arrived at his house looking for
him and taken pictures of the house on previous occasions as well, but
he could not remember details of date and time.

Mr. Sivapalan and Mr. Paneerchelvam told CMEV that they have not
lodged Police complaints regarding the above incidents, as their homes
and offices are all located down the same road, and they fear for their
safety.

Unexploded Grenade found near UPFA bus in Trincomalee.

According to Eastern Provincial Councilor and UPFA Organizer Ms.
Ariyawathi Galappaththi, at 7.00am on the 19th of January at
Nachchikudah, China Bay, an unexploded grenade was found on the ground
near 1 of 4 busses that were brought for the purpose of transporting
UPFA supporters to the President’s rally that was due to take place in
Kanthalai. The buses were brought there on the night of the 18th,
and remained parked there till the following morning.

According to Ms. Galappaththi, the conductor of the bus had informed
her of the grenade, at which point she called 119, and the grenade was
removed from the location by the China Bay Police.

According to PC L.L.S. Wickramathunge of the China Bay Police, a
complaint has been lodged regarding this incident, bearing the number
EIB 34/25. He did not furnish any further information regarding the
incident.

North Central Province

Arson in Anuradhapura

According to UPFA supporter Mr. M.P. Sisira Kumara Jayasundara, at
approximately 2.00am this morning, he had seen his book shop and
communication centre on fire, when he looked outside upon hearing a loud
explosion. Mr. Jayasundara also maintains a UPFA party office in the
building adjoining the two buildings, which were burnt. As they stepped
out of the house in order to investigate the situation, they had heard a
vehicle leaving the location, but did not see it. Subsequently, Mr.
Jayasundara told CMEV that an eye witness to the incident has been
found, and that he states that a petrol bomb was lobbed at the building,
resulting in the fire.

Mr. Jayasundara stated that he believes the attack to be politically
motivated, adding that he suspects the attackers to be JVP supporters.
He told CMEV that he had stated that he suspects the JVP during the
lodging of his complaint (GCR 2/2010) to the Mihinithale Police.
However, when contacted the Mihinthale Police told CMEV that the
complainant did not state who they suspect of the attack, and that the
Police could not therefore consider it politically motivated. The
Officer refused to provide his name, and also added that there was no
damage at all to the party office located in the adjoining building.

However, according to the CMEV monitor, the party office has suffered
minor damages, and a board stating “results of Fonseka’s good
governing” is presently at the location of the arson. This board had not
however been at the location in the morning.

Mr. Jayasundara told CMEV that he had recently changed from the UNP
to the UPFA and that he had also been assaulted by 5 JVP supporters
(Three-wheel Sarath, Bandara, Anura Bandara, Balasuriya and Damith) on
the 5th of January (complaint number at Mihinthale Police EIB
3/2010) subsequent to the change.

When contacted, Mr. Prasanna Sudesh of the JVP Main Office in
Anuradhapura told CMEV that they had heard of the incident, that they
were not involved, but that the Police currently suspects their
supporter Three-wheel Sarath of the attack. He added that Three-wheel
Sarath was in Thambuththegama at the time of the incident.

Uva Province

Arson in Monaragala

According to UNP supporter Ms. Manel Jayasekera, at 1.00am this
morning, her shop was burned by unknown persons. Ms. Jayasekera added
that on the 20th January at approximately 10.00am, Samurdhi
Officer for Buththala Medagama Ms. Indrani, Mr. Chandana, Mr. Sena and
Mr. Jayantha had arrived at her shop, and attempted to paste a poster of
President Rajapakse. Ms. Jayasekera had asked them not to, at which
point Ms. Indrani and associates had scolded Ms. Jayasekera and left the
location. Ms. Jayasekera therefore suspects that Ms. Indrani and
associates may be responsible for the arson. The shop had been destroyed
in the fire.

According to Buththala Police SI Dharmapala, a complaint has been
lodged in this regard, bearing the number CIB 2/126/227. When questioned
as to why the incident was lodged as a CIB as opposed to an EIB, SI
Dharmadasa told CMEV that investigations are currently underway, and
that they could not determine which book it belongs in until such
investigation is complete.

CMEV attempted to get in touch with Ms. Indrani in order to obtain a
statement, but was unable to do so. Upon being contacted, the
Coordinator of the Buththala UPFA party office Mr. R.M. Sunil told CMEV
that he had heard of the incident of arson and that their supporters had
gone canvassing the previous morning, but denied that they were in any
way involved in the arson.

Update to Murder in Matale

On the 19th of January, CMEV reported a Murder from the
Matale District, in which the body of NDF supporter Mr. Lingeswaran of
Warapitiya was found by the Kandy – Matale railroad in the Deiyanwila
area.

According to the Kandy Railway Station Officials, Mr. Lingeswaran’s
body was found on the night of the 15th of January at
approximately 9.15pm, at an approximate distance of 100metres from the
end of the platform, in a train yard area around which trains travel at
low speed. The body was facing upwards, stuck beneath railway
communication signal cables, with heavy bleeding from the back of the
head, just above the neck, and pools of blood beneath his buttock and
leg areas. The Officials added that based on their previous experience
of witnessing train related accidents over the last 25 years, based on
the position and details of the how the body was found, it did not seem
plausible that Mr. Lingeswaran was either struck by or fell off a train.
They added that they had also not received any reports of an accident
that night, which was not the norm. They stated that if an accident had
occurred, the injured person or corpse is transported by the same train
to the nearest station, and handed over via a report from a guard or the
engine driver according to procedure. According to the Officials, the
location that the body was found at cannot be reached by vehicle, but
they added that if someone carried a body from the roadside, they could
dump the body and return to the roadside in under 5 minutes. The
Officials added that Mr. Lingeswaran held what appeared to be an
election related leaflet in his hand, though they were unable to provide
details.

The autopsy was concluded on the 20th morning by the Kandy
JMO Dr. Senevirathne, who initially told CMEV on the 20th afternoon that Mr. Lingeswaran had died as a result of being hit by a
train. When a CMEV monitor visited the JMO’s office on the 21st in order to obtain further information, the JMO told him that the
report will be submitted to courts and refused to provide any further
information. The Chief Clerk at the JMO office told CMEV that as
previously stated, the conclusion is that it was an accidental death.

When contacted based on a fax received from Leader of the Opposition
Municipal Council Matale Mr. Daljith Aluvihare, UNP supporter Mr. A.
Somasundaram and Matale Pradeshiya Sabha member Mr. Senaka Aluvihare
told CMEV that they recalled seeing Mr. Lingeswaran between 8.30pm and
9.00pm on the 15th of January at the Matale Godapola bus
stand, where which is where General Fonseka’s rally was held.

Mr. Seneka Aluvihare told CMEV that General Fonseka arrived at
8.00pm, and at approximately 8.30pm Mr. Lingeswaran spoke to Mr.
Aluvihare, informing him that he’ll be stepping “outside” for a bit. He
had seen Mr. Lingeswaran walking away from the bus stand, into a large
crowd of people. He added that Deiyanvila (where the body was located)
was 28km from the rally location, and can be reached within ½ an hour.

When contacted, the Inspector of the Matale Depot Mr. Kulathilaka
told CMEV that 60 busses worked on the route on the 15th of
January and that public transport was not halted on the 15th as was stated in the fax by Mr. Daljith Aluvihare. He also confirmed
that Deiyanvila could be reached in approximately ½ an hour if a vehicle
departed from the vicinity of the Godapola bus stand.

While the Duty Officer of the Kandy Police Crime Branch initially
told CMEV on the 19th of January that Mr. Lingeswaran’s body
was found on the 18th, CMEV has now learned from the Kandy
Railway Station Official who was on duty on the night of the 15th,
that the body was discovered on the night of the 15th of
January at approximately 9.15pm, at an approximate distance of 100metres
from the end of the platform, in a train yard area, around which trains
travel at low speed. The date and time of discovery of the body was
subsequently confirmed at 15th January at approximately
9.15pm, by a duty officer of the Kandy Police Crimes Branch.

Pending further clarification CMEV will continue to record this as an
election related Murder.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqu? No. 20