Centre for Policy Alternatives on 23 March, 2010

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqu? 3

Categories: CMEV ReportsElection Monitoring

23 March 2010, Colombo, Sri
CMEV continues to receive reports regarding the
misuse of public resources for electioneering. CMEV has recorded 32
(29%) cases of public property misuse out of the 110 confirmed Major
Incidents as of 22nd March 2010.

Attack on MTV/MBC Media

CMEV unreservedly condemns the attack on the MBC/MTV office located
at Braybrook Place, Colombo, yesterday 22nd March 2010. CMEV has learnt
that one of the buses used to transport the attackers was from the
Kelaniya Bus Depot.  On 22nd March CMEV contacted the Slave
Island Police Station, CI Malin Perera, informed us that according to
the statements recorded from the arrested persons, some of them are
supporters of UPFA candidate Duminda de Silva (candidate no 08) who were
on their way to a musical show organized by him. Duminda de Silva
categorically denied the involvement of his supporters in the incident.

Whilst the precise motivation for the attack has yet to be
established, CMEV notes that it took place in the heart of the capital
in the afternoon and against a media organization that has been attacked
before.  The attack, in the context of a general election in
particular, adversely impacts the free flow of information, public
perceptions in respect of their access to information and the Rule of
Law.  CMEV calls on the Police to take effective and speedy action
against the attackers without fear or favour.

Repeated reports regarding the misuse of public property

CMEV Field Monitor reported that a meeting was held on 23rd March at the Ashraff-Athaullah Memorial Hall, Pottuvil for school
teachers and principals at around 12.00 pm.

According to the CMEV Field Monitor, UPFA candidates namely A.H.Abdul
Basheer(candidate no 03),A.M.Lebbe(candidate no 05) and
A.M.Athaullah(candidate no 02) and Eastern Provincial Council Minister
of Road Development, Irrigation, Housing and Construction, Rural
Electrification and Water Supply Uduman Lebbe addressed the gathering.

CMEV learnt that the schools in the Pottuvil area were closed
at around 10.30am on the 23rd in order that the principals and teachers
could attend the above meeting.

CMEV contacted Mr.Muthalif, Deputy Director of Akkaraipattu
Zonal Education Department, who said that permission had not been
granted to close schools on the 23rd.  He further stated that
he came to know that it was the Ministry of Education of the Eastern
Provincial Council that had given approval.

Secretary of the Eastern Provincial Council Ministry of
Education Mr.Weerawardhana, informed CMEV that this was not the case,
that he was not aware of the incident and that he would look into the

Mannar: on 22nd March CMEV received
reports regarding the misuse of a building and staff of the National
Youth Council, Mannar in the campaign of the incumbent Minister of
Re-settlement and Disaster Relief Services and UPFA candidate Rishard
Badiudeen(candidate no 01). Reportedly, a meeting for organizers and
supporters of Rishad Badiudeen was held on 22nd March at the

CMEV contacted the National Youth Council, Mannar and an officer
attached to the council denied that such a meeting took place.

Attempts to contact Rishard Badiudeen were not successful.

Jaffna: According to CMEV Field Monitor UPFA
candidate for Jaffna District, Alexander Charles (candidate no 04) has
conducted a meeting in the Kachai Government Tamil Mixed School on 18th March 2010 at around 01.30 pm

When contacted, Alexander Charles, categorically denied the

Nuwaraeliya: Allegedly the incumbent Minister of
Youth Empowerment and Socio Economic Development and UPFA candidate
Arumugan Ramanathen Thondaman(candidate no 10) conducted a  meeting at
Pathana College of Education main hall on 17th March 2010.

CMEV learnt that five principles of government schools and trainees
attached to the college also attended the meeting. Three of them were
identified as the Principles of Barathi Maha Vidyalya, Highlands Central
College and Kotagala Tamil Maha Vidyalaya, respectively.

CMEV Field Monitor reported that a lorry (CP PA 5267) belonging to
the Kotagala Pradeshiya Saba is being used in the campaign of UPFA
candidate Shanthini Chandrasekran(candidate no 09).N.Sadasivam, a UPF
Praseshiya Sabah Member from Kotagala, denied the allegation.

CMEV welcomes the Election Commissioner’s guidelines prohibiting
public property misuse and highlights the section 104B (4) (a) of the 17th amendment to the Constitution, which clearly states that;

The Commission shall have the power during the period of an
election, to prohibit the use of any movable or immovable property
belonging to the State or any public corporation

We urge the Commissioner to exercise the powers vested on him in the
interests of protecting and strengthening the integrity of the electoral

As of 22nd March 2010 CMEV has recorded a cumulative total
of 170 incidents including 110(64%) Major Incidents.  The Use of
Firearms has risen to 31(28%). CMEV has recorded 22 Major Incidents from
the Central Province, 17 from the North Western, 16 from Sabaragamuwa,
12 from the Eastern Province, 11 from Uva, 09 from the Southern
Province, 08 each from the Western and Northern Provinces and 07 from
North Western Province.

CMEV has received 127 complaints against the UPFA, 25 of which were
made by party members. The UNP was accused in 07 incidents, whilst in 35
cases the party affiliation of the perpetrators has not been
identified.  CMEV has recorded a complaint against an independent group
contesting in Badulla.


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