CMEV monitor attacked in Polonnaruwa

30th December, CMEV monitor attacked in Polonnaruwa.

CMEV was informed of electioneering by two groups of Buddhist monks- a local group of monks in support of Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and the Bodu Bala Sena in support of President Mahinda Rajapakse. CMEV monitor J.P.A.M Jayasekara reported that both groups were electioneering in close proximity to each other and that there had been a clash between the two groups, which he had attempted to photograph. Two incidents followed this clash in which the CMEV monitor was threatened and attacked. They are listed in detail below.

The first incident was at around 10am when a small group of monks had been distributing leaflets in support of Common Presidential Candidate Maithripala Sirisena and a supporter had threatened the CMEV monitor and asked him to delete photographs he had taken. He had deleted the photographs under duress.

The second incident occurred around 12.30pm when the CMEV monitor was dispatched to observe election campaign activity near the Bank of Ceylon Kaduruwela Branch. In the lead were several members of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) who had been distributing leaflets in support of President Mahinda Rajapakse. According to Mr.Jayasekara, he had taken out his camera to take photographs, he was attacked by a supporter of Siripala Gamlath (Deputy Minister of Lands & Land Development and District Coordinator of Polonnaruwa District, United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA)) who had snatched his camera. During this time he was also assaulted on his right leg. Subsequently, the CMEV monitor visited Siripala Gamlath’s office to retrieve the camera. Although his camera was returned, all images and videos relating to the above incident had been deleted.

A police complaint has been made with SSP G.A.N.L.Wijesena, Polonnaruwa.