SLFP, UNP urged to restrain supporters, prevent violence
by Lal Gunasekera
Mar 30, 2010
Misuse of public property for electioneering, inaction of responsible officers, attacks on party offices and supporters on the increase in the run-up to the April 8 parliamentary polls were of grave concern to the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said yesterday.
CMEV called upon SLFPand UNPleaders and their allies to prevent violence and take effective action against members and supporters responsible for violations of the law.
A camera belonging to a CMEV field monitor in Nikaweratiya had been snatched by a person in a white van on Sunday morning while he was photographing a damaged UNF party office, the CMEV said in a media release.
The vehicle carried UPFA candidate Johnston Fernando’s number and name were displayed prominently but the vehicle number was not visible. The police, too, were present at the location to investigate the attack on the UNF office, according to CMEV.
CMEV field monitors also reported a clash between two groups allegedly supporting Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene and Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene, at the Mirissa junction on Sunday afternoon. The Weligama Police had had to disperse the unruly crowd before the situation worsened, CMEV said.
AITC candidate S. Subramanium alleged that one of his supporters had been verbally threatened on Sunday by an EPDP supporter in Varani North, Jaffna. He had been asked not to campaign in the Kadathanai area which ‘belongs’ to the EPDP, according to CMEV.
Family members of a UNF supporter has complained to CMEV that they are continuously intimidated by CWC supporters, allies of the UPFA, and even Minister Arumugam Thondaman threatened them close their shop on Maskeliya Road, Norwood.
Police had arrested Potuvil Pradeshiya Sabha chairman M. S. M. Marzook and vice-vhairman A. M. M. Thajudeen on March 26 but released them on bail the following day, CMEV said adding that the police refused to give any details about the incident.
An UNF supporter had been attacked allegedly by a group of supporters of UPFA candidate M. A. M. Hisbulla on the Main Street, Kattankudi, on March 24 night, while he was returning home after attending a UNF meeting. He had been admitted with an injured hand to Ward No. 14 of the Batticaloa Base Hospital, CMEV said.
Twelve ITAK supporters and a vehicle had been taken into custody on March 26 by the Vaharai police. All of them had been released on the same day in two batches, but the Vaharai Police personnel did not respond to queries made by the CMEV.
UPFA candidate Anjan Umma complained to the CMEV on March 27 that her party office in Hansgiriya, Kaleliya had been attacked by a group of supporters of UPFA candidate Harshani Gunawardene on March 25 night. Gunawardene had been present at the scene and the perpetrators had arrived in two dual purpose vehicles and a lorry, CMEV said.
A Mahaweli Authority bus had been used to transport a group of UPFA supporters from Welikanda to Kalahagala in Polonnaruwa on March 27 for campaign purposes.
CMEV reported that four UNF party offices had been attacked by an unidentified group on March 27 in Sooriyawewa.
CMEV has confirmed 235 incidents of election related violence, including 141 major incidents. The use of fire arms and misuse of public property have risen to 36 and 40 respectively.