Local Authority Election 2011: Media Communique 2

17th March 2011 Colombo, Sri Lanka: After the release of our first media communiqué, CMEV has received numerous reports with regard to the violation of election law and incidents of violence as well as intimidation. These incidents include murder, the obstruction of CMEV election observers, reports of voter transportation, death threats received by candidates, voter identification issues and reports of voters who were chased away from polling centres.

Murder

Sabaragamuwa Province, Kegalla district, Moradana area at Bulathkohupitiya Pradehiya Sabha. The incident occurred in the early hours of the morning. A three-wheeler transporting UPFA posters had knocked down a supporter of the UPFA who was part of another campaign group. As a result, both of these groups were involved in a fight, which led to one individual being stabbed with a knife. The victim was rushed to the Kegalle hospital and succumbed to his injuries. CMEV contacted the Bulathkohupitiya police station and S.I Samarasena informed us that the fight was not a political incident, but a ‘personal matter.’ Furthermore, we contacted Jude Rookantha Perera, a UPFA candidate, and he confirmed that he visited the area and that it was a personal fight. CMEV also contacted the Kegalle Hospital police about the incident and OIC Premachandra informed us that the body has not been released yet. In order to obtain further details, CMEV contacted an official at the hospital who told us that the body will not be released until the District Medical Officer (DMO) returns to work. The DMO is presently on leave.

Obstruction of CMEV election observers

North-Western Province, Puttalam district, Puttalam PS at around 10.45AM

Citing the Election Commissioner, SPO of the St.Andrew Maha Vidyalaya polling centre has stated to CMEV monitors that they have no authorization to provide information to CMEV.

North Central Province, Anuradhapura District, Mihintale PS, 9.00AM

The Senior Presiding Officer (SPO) of the Missaka Belgium Community Centre polling centre                   refused to provide information to the CMEV monitor R.Supun Seneviratne. The SPO has further stated that they are only authorized to provide information to PAFFREL.

Voter transportation

As we highlighted in our first media communiqué, there have been many reports of voter transportation from Puttalam to Mannar. CMEV has contacted the Deputy Manager of the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and he stated that under the instructions of the Election Commissioner, voters are able to pay the normal bus fare to travel to Mannar. He further stated that CMEV should contact Mr. Ameen, Deputy Depot Manager of SLTB, Puttalam division for further information. However, CMEV has been unable to contact the Deputy Depot Manager in Puttalam. CMEV contacted an official attached to the Assistant Commissioner of Elections and he confirmed that the Election Commission has requested the SLTB to provide transport to voters provided that they pay the normal fare for the service.

Uva province, Moneragala District, Wellawaya PS at around 10.30AM:

CMEV monitor reports that large-scale voter transportation is taking place near the Mallaththawala Maha Vidyalaya No. 25 polling station. Details of the parties and vehicles involved in this incident are as follows:

Van (GK 3443) bearing the name and preference number of UPFA candidate Rohana (No.08)

Cab (250-5309) bearing the name and preference number of UPFA candidate Raja (No. 03)

Van (50-1108) bearing the name and preference number of UNP candidate Dilum (No.04)

Three-wheeler (JG 8815) bearing the name and preference number of UPFA candidate Srinath (No.10)

These vehicles have been moving around the polling station.

Northern Province, Mannar district, Mannar PS & Mannar UC, at around 10.00AM:

CMEV monitor reports that voters were transported along the Kurunegala-Mannar road in WPNA 3877 CTB bus (Mannar Depot), WPNA 3879 CTB bus (Kurunegala depot) and WPNA 633797 CTB bus (Kurunegala depot) by the supporters of UPFA candidate Hameen (3).

Northern Province, Mannar District, Manthai East PS area, at 12.00 NOON:

TNA supporter Amrithalingam reports that UPFA supporters are transporting voters from Palpani to Ambalpuram in eight busses and a gray colour van.

North Western Province, Puttalam District, Puttalam PS at around 9.00AM:

A three-wheeler (UR 7786) bearing the photo and preference number of UPFA candidate Nasmi (No.01) has transported voters to the Sri Visuddharama Temple polling station. CMEV monitor reports that there are two policemen on duty.

Southern Province, Hambantota district, Tissamaharama PS, at around 9.15AM:

UPFA supporters of candidate Y.K Wasantha are transporting voters into Gonagamuwa Kanishta Vidyalaya polling centre in a white van (ST 2540765).

Eastern Province, Ampara district, Navinthanpalli PS, from 9.30-9.45AM:

TNA candidate U.P Thevan (07) reports to CMEV of transportation of voters from Sorikkalmunai 01 to Sorikkalmunai 03 using a bus (60 Sri 0083) by supporters of TMVP candidate Sutharshan (NO.01).

Eastern Province, Ampara district, Samanthurai PS, from 9.50am – 10.00AM:

Voters have been transported from Samanthurai to Jamaliya Vidyalaya polling centre in a white van (61-4636) by supporters of SLMC candidate Kadar.

Death threats

Eastern Province, Ampara District, Navithanveli PS, at around 10.40AM:

TNA candidate Kalaiyarasan (NO.05) complained to CMEV that TNA candidate Kularatnam (NO.09) has received death threats from TMVP Eastern Province Council member Pushparaj near the Saraswathi Vidyalaya and Thalai Mahal Vidyalaya.

Eastern Province, Ampara District, Navithanveli PS, at around 10.40AM

TNA candidate Kalaiyarasan (NO.05) complained to CMEV that TNA candidate Kularatnam (NO.09) has received death threats from TMVP Eastern Province Council member Pushparaj near the Saraswathi Vidyalaya and Thalai Mahal Vidyalaya

Voter identification

Uva Province, Moneragala District, Medagama PS, in the morning

A voter at the Bakinigahawela Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya polling centre reported to CMEV that the Grama Sevaka has failed to return temporary identity cards to 30 voters. These temporary IDs were handed over to the SPO during the last parliamentary election and Grama Sevaka has not received new identity cards. The Grama Sevaka has reported this to the voters yesterday. (March 16)

Uva Province, Moneragala District, Medagama PS, in the morning

A voter at the Bakinigahawela Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya Polling centre reported to CMEV that the Grama Sevaka has failed to return temporary identity cards to 30 voters. These temporary IDs were handed over to the SPO during the last parliamentary election and Grama Sevaka has not received new identity cards. The Grama Sevaka has informed about this to the voter yesterday. (March 16)

Voters chased away from polling station

Central Province, Kandy District, Gampola UC, from the beginning of voting till now

UNP Candidate Sarath Gamini Hettiarachchi (20) reports to CMEV that Muslim voters arriving at the Gampola Wickramabahu National School polling centre (50) and Yowun Senanka Puhunu Godanegilla polling centre (52) have been allegedly chased out of the polling centres by supporters of UPFA candidate, Janaka Uyanwatta (01). It is alleged that Thilak, an underworld member, is responsible for this incident. Sarath Gamini Hettiarachchi, UNP candidate (NO. 20), alleged that vehicles belonging to the Prime Minister’s security division are moving around the area and security personnel of the Prime Minister have parked their vehicle in by-lanes. According to the witness, a complaint has been lodged at the Gampola police station. When CMEV contacted the Gampola police station, the police claimed that they did not receive a complaint regarding the incident, but they have dispatched a mobile police vehicle upon receiving a fax from the Election Commissioner. A CMEV monitor reported that the SPO has confirmed that this incident took place and that they were unable to intervene. Furthermore, the Army and Police have been deployed in order to secure the area.

Central Province, Kandy District, Udapalatha PS, at around 9.15AM

Devapriya Ranatunga, UNP candidate for the Udapalatha PS, has complained to CMEV that supporters of UPFA candidate Udaya Kumara (P.No 22) who arrived in VW 3045 motorcycle have chased the voters out of the Panwilatenna Maha Vidyalaya polling centre. UPFA candidate Udaya Kumara was present at the time of the incident.