Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence
Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008
10th May 2008 – 2030 hrs – Media Communiqué 3
CMEV has recorded 64 incidents of violence as at 6 pm today, 10 May. Of these, 48 have been classified as Major Offences and 16 as Minor. The majority of the Major Offences – 28 -were committed in the Batticaloa District followed by Ampara (12) and Trincomalee (08).
Of the Major Offences, systematic impersonation was the most widespread with a particular concentration in the Batticaloa District where 15 of the 22 such incidents occurred.
Areas of serious concern in respect of violence and malpractice in the province are Valaichchenai and Kathankudy in the Batticaloa District, the Pottuvil Polling Division in the Ampara District and Thiriyai in the Trincomalee District.
CMEV calls upon the Election Commissioner to order a re-poll in these areas.
CMEV monitors observed a number of incidents of electoral malpractices and of voter impersonation in particular, in thirteen (13) Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division Monitors observed children who looked as young as 13-15 years of age casting votes. They also observed that there was no proper procedure for the identification of voters, no designated officer to check the Identity Cards of voters and that only TMVP Polling Agents were present in these Polling Stations.
The Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division are :
42 Koraikalapu Shakthi Vidyalaya, Vinayagapuram
48 AK/Kalliyanthivu Wadivel Vidyalaya, Kalliyanthivu
49 World Vission Pre School, Thirukkovil 4
50 AK/Kanchirankuda Govt. Tamil Mixed School, Thirukkovil 4
51 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 01)
52 AK/Thambiluvil Central College, Thambiluvil
53 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 02)
54 AK/Thambiluvil Saraswathy Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil
70 AK/Alayadivembu Thirunavukarasu Vidyalaya, Alayadivembu
71 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.01
72 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.02
73 AK/Akkaraipattu Ramakrishna Mission School, Akkaraipattu
74 AK/Akkaraipattu As-Sipaya Vidyalaya, Jamath Alim Nagar
UNP supporters claimed that they were assaulted and their national ID Cards snatched in close proximity to Galode Vidyalaya (Polling Station 51) and Miriswatte Vidyalaya (Polling Station 45) this morning. The Padiyathalaawa Police when contacted by CMEV, confirmed that they had received a complaint from the UNP supporters. The Police said they would reinvestigate and have summoned the complainants for this purpose.
CMEV was informed of alleged voter impersonation taking place at Polling Station 112 BT Japiathul Arabic Collage, Kattankudy, Batticaloa Polling Division at around noon. Farook Majeed Deputy Chairman, SLMC reported that a group of people standing in front of the Polling Station were distributing false ID cards to voters who were then being sent in to vote. The group continued to stay nearby, even up to midday.
Grama Sevaka Mr Mohamed Jaroof complained that he was threatened by UPFA supporters following an attempted impersonation of a voter. The Senior Polling Officer in Polling Station 114 Meera Balika Maha Vidyalaya reportedly called and inquired into the validity of a certified identity card (a replacement for the national ID) from the GS as the details on the card did not tally with the voting list. The GS denied that he had issued the certified National Identity Card. This had reportedly led to the GS being intimidated by UPFA supporters.
An UNP Polling Agent, M. Siyath, was assaulted allegedly by supporters of M.L.A. Hisbullah outside the Polling Station 110 Hiluriya Vidyalaya, Kattankudy at 10 a.m this morning.
In Polling Station 24 and 25 BT Murakkoddanchenai Ramakrishna Mission Tamil Mixed School, Kalkuda Polling Division unidentified individuals in civilian clothing were observed obtaining information from Police Officers and making inquiries as to how many people had voted. The Police Officers were observed as having passing on this information.
An eye witness, who refuses to be named for reasons of his personal security, informed CMEV monitors of incidents of ballot stuffing in Polling Stations in Thiriyai – namely. Thiriyai M.V. Hall 2 (B 86), Thiriyai MV Hall 3 (B 87) and Al –Nooriya MV Hall 2 (B 83). He claims that by 7am this morning people transported in a bus and several vans entered the Polling Stations and stuffed the ballot boxes. In Polling Station, Thiriyai MV Hall 1 ( B84) the SPO and Police resisted and prevented ballot stuffing.
In the Trincomalee Polling Division, as reported to the Trincomalee Police and confirmed by CMEV monitors, unidentified persons, arriving in a Dolphin van 51-4198, an Intercooler 64-9347 and an Indian Jeep bearing the number WP HH 7288, had assaulted UNP MP Sarath Chandra Rajakaruna and his team and forcibly taken their camera. The incident took place at around 11.30 a.m. When contacted by CMEV, the Trincomalee Police Station stated that they could not confirm this incident.
At 11am, CMEV monitors observed attempted voter impersonation at Polling Station 90 Naduoooththu Government Muslim School, Kinniya. Persons attempting to vote had to be turned away as their NICs did not tally with the Voter list. The area around the Polling Station was noted to be tense.
CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition Against Political Violence as an independent and non-partisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. It is currently constituted by CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA MS. SEETHA RANJANI
CO – CONVENOR CO – CONVENOR CO – CONVENOR