Election related violence in North, East and Uva provinces
The following is full text of media Communiqué No 11, issued by Centre from Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) on Jan 14, 2010:
Alleged Election Offence by Election Official
According to UNP District Secretary for Polonnaruwa Mr. S.A.M. Wickramasinghe, Captain R.D.A. Ranaweera of the 8th Vijayabha Regiment of the Sri Lanka Army, Palali, was arrested yesterday at 4.30pm by the Military Police (4th CCMP) for influencing voters in favour of General Sarath Fonseka. The arrest was made subsequent to 14 voters lodging complaints against the Captain, according to Mr. Wickramasinghe.
Captain Ranaweera’s role in respect of the conduct of postal ballots is not clear. He has identified himself to CMEV as the certifying officer and then subsequently as an assistant to the certifying officer.
When contacted, 4th CCMP Commander Lt. Col. Anil Illangamage told CMEV that they had received complaints that Captain R.D.A. Ranaweera was influencing voters in favour of one particular candidate, and that an investigation into the matter was underway. He stated that Captain Ranaweera had admitted to the allegations in a statement obtained from him. He further stated that Captain Ranaweera was not arrested and that he was merely being questioned. Army Spokesperson Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara confirmed Lt. Col. Anil Illangamage statement to CMEV.
When contacted, Assistant Commissioner of Elections for Jaffna Mr. Kuganathan told CMEV that they have not received any information regarding this incident and suggested that we check with the Elections Commissioner or the Army Headquarters.
As the list of postal voting centres for Jaffna obtained by CMEV from the Assistant Commissioner of Elections Mr. Kuganathan did not contain the 8th Vijayaba Regiment camp in Palali, CMEV subsequently contacted Mr. Kuganathan to ascertain if Captain Ranaweera functioned as certifying officer at 8th Vijayabha Regiment camp in Palali.
Mr Kuganathan was unaware of whether voting had been conducted at the camp and even as to whether the camp constituted a centre for voting. He referred CMEV to the Colombo Election Secretariat. Additional Commissioner Mr. W.P. Sumanasiri at the Colombo Election Secretariat confirmed that the camp should be a centre. However he referred us back to Mr. P. Kuganathan for confirmation.
CMEV is concerned about the apparent confusion and lack of coordination in respect of postal voting in this instance. Whilst we have not received further information about other incidents of this particular nature, we also wish to record our concern about problems that have been reported to us with regard to postal balloting.
CMEV previously highlighted the issue of personnel of the following Military Camps and Police Stations receiving no response to their postal vote applications from their respective Assistant Election Commissioners.
Air Force Camp, Uhana – 400 rejected votes of 811 applied. Sandunpura Vijayaba Infantry 3rd Batallion Camp – 4 rejected, 95 no response, 100 applied.
Army 3rd Women’s Corps – 10 rejected, 41 no response, 163 applied.
Police Station, Bakkialla – 154 rejected, 16 no response, 977 applied.
Police Station, Ampara - 109 rejected votes of 943 applied.
Police Station, Dehiattakandiya – 107 rejected, 4 no response, 288 applied.
Police Station, Uhana - 62 rejected, 3 no response, 693 applied.
While some of these personnel have still received no notification regarding their postal vote, a few have received notification stating that they are eligible to vote. However their postal vote has been rejected.
When contacted, the Commissioner of Elections Mr. Dayananda Dissanayake told CMEV that any postal vote applications not received at the respective District Election Offices by the cutoff date of 18th December, were rejected, even though they may have been postmarked before that date.
While some applications from the above listed camps and stations were posted on the 16th of December. CMEV has learned that applications from the 3rd Women’s Corps were posted on the 13th of December, and that 41 had not been responded to as of today. Further, of the 4 rejected votes at the Sandunpura Vijayaba Infantry 3rd Batallion Camp, 3 rejections have been received by persons whose home town is Ampara, while a further 3 persons whose home town is also Ampara have not received any response.
The issue that CMEV wishes to highlight with regards to the above is that an issue now arises regarding approval of leave to the above personnel to enable them to return to their respective hometowns on Election Day in order to vote.
Assault by Badalumkumbura Pradeshiya Sabha member
At 10.15am yesterday, Pradeshiya Sabha member of Badalkumbura Mr. Mohommed Ibrahim Mohommed Hussein (UNP) was allegedly assaulted by Pradeshiya Sabha member Badalkumbura Mr. Kapila Samarakkodi (UPFA), at the bus stop located in front of the Badalkumbura Pradeshiya Sabha Office, which functioned as a postal voting centre.
Mr. Hussein is currently in the Badalkumbura District Hospital with bruising to his leg, but would be discharged soon, according to Ms. Karuna Hennayake, an attendant of ward 2.
Pradeshiya Sabha member Mr. Nihal Susantha and Chairman Pradeshiyasabha Mr. Samarasinghe Abeysekera, were also allegedly present during the assault. When contacted, Mr. Kapila Samarakkody told CMEV that UNP supporters were distributing leaflets in front of the polling centre and that he had merely requested them to stop doing so. He denied any assault and claimed that he left the location after asking the UNP supporters to stop the leaflet distribution. Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha Mr. Samarasinghe Abeysekera also confirmed Mr. Samarakkody’s statement.
SI Ranasinghe of the Badalkumbura Police told CMEV that a complaint has been lodged regarding this incident, but refused to provide further information as they have been instructed by superiors not to do so.
Arson by Chairman of Monaragala Pradeshiya Sabha
Yesterday at 12.30am, JVP supporter Mr. P.P.G. Wijesiri’s three wheeler (UP QQ 7604), which was at his home in Pragathi Mawatha, Sinhasiripura, was set on fire allegedly by Chairman Pradeshiya Sabha Monaragala Mr. R.M. Ratnaweera and a supporter Andaraweera Arachchilage Sarath Kumara, as witnessed by Mr. Wijesiri.
When contacted, SI Wilbert Silva of the Monaragala Police told CMEV that Mr. Sarath Kumara has been arrested in relation to the above arson (EIB 181/54) and remains in custody. He further stated that the Chairman of the Pradeshiya Sabha has also been requested to present himself to the Police, but that he remains in hiding.
When contacted, Chairman Ratnaweera told CMEV that he was informed by the Police that he should present himself, and that he would be released on bail within 5 minutes. However, Chairman Ratnaweera had not presented himself to the Police as at 2.30pm.
|CMEV has recorded a total of 473 incidents, of which 208 are Major Incidents. Of the latter 60 are Assaults, 59 are Threat and Intimidation, 28 are incidents of Misuse of State Resources, and 22 are Grievous Hurts. Fire arms have been used in 62 of these incidents. The highest number of these (24) incidents are reported from the Hambantota District. The highest number of Major Incidents reported from a polling division is from Thangalle.|