Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqué 9

3 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in the last stage of the campaign and calls up on the Police to act fast to arrest the situation.

Repeated allegations against supporters of Minister Rishard Badiudeen in Puttalam and Vanni

CMEV continues to receive complaints against supporters of the incumbent Minister of Re-settlement and Disaster Relief Services and UPFA candidate for the Vanni District, Rishard Badiudeen(candidate no 01).

In 24 incidents of election related violence his supporters are alleged to be the perpetrators.  Members of his party have made allegations against his supporters in 02 complaints. CMEV also has received 04 complaints by his supporters of which 03 are against UNPers and 01 against the supporters of UPFA candidate Premarantne Sumathipala(candidate no 06).

Of the complaints received against his supporters, 18 are categorized as Major and 06 as Minor. Major incidents include 08 instances of Assault, 06 incidents of the Misuse of Public Property, 02 instances of Grievous Hurt and 01 case each of Damage to Property and Threat and Intimidation.

In three instances, victims stated that they had not lodged complaints with the Police because of a loss of trust and confidence in the Force.  CMEV has recorded 11 complaints against Badiudeen supporters in the Puttalm District. None of these complaints have been lodged with the Police.

Recent allegations against his supporters are highlighted below:

On 02nd April CMEV received a complaint from the UNP that supporters of Rishard Badiudeen assaulted a group of supporters of UNP candidate Noordeen Mashoor(candidate no 05) in Tarapuram, Mannar at around 06.30 pm while they were campaigning in the area. Two UNP supporters namely M.Hafil and M.Aroos sustained injuries due to the attack.

On contacting Noordeen Mashoor’s office, CMEV learnt that a van (WP TB 0611) was also damaged due to the attack and that the victims were admitted to ward no 04 of the Mannar General Hospital. According to one of the office bearers, a complaint was lodged with the Mannar Police Station.

On 03rd April CMEV contacted Mr.Munawfer, a coordinator of the Minister. He declined to comment on the allegation and asked CMEV to contact the Police to verify the details.

CMEV contacted the Mannar Police. Election OIC Sriwardhana, confirmed that they had received a complaint regarding the incident.

Harthal in Pottuvil

CMEV received reports regarding a harthal in the Pottuvil area on 03rd April.

Field reports revealed that the Harthal was backed by the UPFA and UNP candidates in order to protest against the alleged violent activities of UPFA candidate A.L.M.Athaulla(candidate no 02). CMEV also learnt that a National Youth Conference of the National Congress, an ally of UPFA, was also arranged in Pottuvil under the patronage of Athaulla on the 3rd evening.

CMEV contacted M.B.A.Azeez, former parliamentarian and representative of Ferial Ashrof for Pottuvil. He alleged that since Athaulla does not allow other candidates to campaign in his areas, other UPFA and SLMC candidates organized a harthal in Pottuvil on the 3rd in protest. He accused the Police of attempting to break the harthal by threatening shop owners with permanent closure if they did not comply.

Mr.Mubasir a shop owner and a supporter of the SLMC, alleged that the Police had put an additional lock on his closed shop as he had refused their demand that he break the harthal.

OIC Wasanthakumara of the Pottuvil Police Station denied the allegations and stated that all shops were open for business as usual.

At around 04.30 pm the CMEV Field Monitor informed CMEV that people were brought from Akkaraipattu in 04 buses (WP NA 1340,63-3169, WP NA 2535 & WP NA 3247) belonging to the Akkaraipattu Depot for the conference. According to him, 08 wickets and stones were found in a bus (WP NA 1340) when the STF checked the busses and 07 iron bars were found in a van (56-2639).

According to CMEV Field reports many shops remain closed and a tense situation prevails in the area. A heavy deployment of security forces has been provided for the conference.

Intensified intra party clashes in Sammanthurai

CMEV has confirmed 05 incidents of UPFA intra party disputes from the Sammanthurai electorate during the last 48 hours. These include an incident of Hurt and 04 incidents of Damages to Property. All incidents have been reported to the Sammanthurai Police Station.

In the attack M.M.Ashroof, a supporter of Naushad, sustained injuries and was admitted to ward no 01 of the Kalmunai Base Hospital.  His three-wheeler (EP GE 9858) was also damaged in the attack.

In all 05 instances supporters of UPFA candidates Abdul Ameer(candidate no 05) and A.M. Naushad(candidate no 04) were identified as the alleged perpetrators. In 03 instances, supporters of Naushad were identified as the alleged perpetrators, while in 02 incidents supporters of Abdul Ameer were accused.

UNP supporters attacked in Kurunegala

CMEV Field Monitor reported that a group of supporters of UNP candidate Akila Viraj Kariyawasam (candidate no 01) were assaulted allegedly by a group of supporters of UPFA candidate Johnston Fernando (candidate no 14) opposite the Kurnegala Malkatuwawa Welagedara Vidyalaya at around 07.00 pm on 02nd April. Two UNP supporters namely M.Izadeen and M.Aslam sustained injuries in the attack and were admitted to ward no 01 of the Kuliyapitiya Base Hospital.

CMEV contacted Mr.Chandana, personal secretary to Akila Viraj Kariyawasam. He told CMEV that the perpetrators came in a blue Tipper and assaulted the UNP supporters while they were returning after a UNP meeting held in the Kurunegala Sathiyawadi ground under the patronage of the Opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe. A truck (NW LF 3745) belonging to Akila Viraj Kariyawasam was also damaged in the attack. He further stated that M.Nowshad, a UNP supporter, lodged a complaint (EIB 01/2010) with the Kurunegala Police Station.

When CMEV contacted Johnston Fernando’s party office, Sumudu Abeyawickrama, an office bearer, categorically denied the involvement of UPFA supporters in the attack.

IP Dharmadasa of the Kurunegala Police Station confirmed the incident and stated that further investigations are underway.

Profile of Violence

As of 03rd April CMEV has confirmed 325 incidents of election related violence including 186 Major Incidents. The use of Fire -arms has risen to 43 and CMEV has confirmed 46 instances of the Misuse of Public Property – 24% of the total number of Major Incidents.

The majority of Major Incidents (37) are reported from the Central Province. Thirty-two (32) Major violations are confirmed from Major Incidents each are reported from the Eastern and Uva Provinces. Seventeen (17), 16, 15, 13 and 12 Major Incidents are confirmed by CMEV from the Northern, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, North Central and Western Provinces, respectively.

CMEV has received 232 complaints against UPFA and its allies of which 66 (28%) are from UPFA party members. The UNP is accused in 17 incidents while in 60 instances the party affiliation of the perpetrators has not been identified. CMEV has also confirmed 05 complaints against the EPDP and 03 incidents of election related violence against the ITAK.

All CMEV reports and communiqués and the CMEV Incidents Google Map can be accessed online at http://cmev.wordpress.com