Letter to IGP: Situation report on the prevailing election-related incidents in Puttalam District

Mr. Pujith Jayasundera,
Inspector General of Police,
Sri Lanka Police,
Police Headquarters,
Colombo 01,

20 / 01 /2018

Dear Sir,

Situation report on the prevailing election-related incidents in Puttalam District

On behalf of Centre for Monitoring Election Violence, I would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support you have been providing the Elections Commission.

I also like to draw your attention towards the viral videos containing insults and hate speech condemning the involvement of female candidates in Elections, disseminating through social media. The Elections Commission has been informed of this in a separate letter.

The Cleric known as Niyaz Maulavi, using profanities is engaged in inflammatory criticism against the involvement of women in electoral politics. He has tarnished the reputation of female candidates in the Puttalam area in particular, revealing his objective as being that of preventing women from participating in electoral politics as candidates.

There are several other incidents of a similar nature, which have been reported to us. One of them is of the sudden raid forcibly carried out by four (4) police officers on the residence of C. A. Rinuza Ilma, a female candidate of the Muslim Congress. According to the information received, the said police officials attached to Norochchola police station raided the house based on a complaint received via 119 police emergency hotline. The said complaint had indicated that a large- scale currency counterfeiting operation was being carried out at the house of the said female candidate and that a number of computers in that location were being used for this purpose.  Candidate Rinuza Ilma has pointed out that a women police officer should have been included in the operation.

The raid did not produce anything of a suspicious nature. Subsequently candidate Ilma attempted to lodge a complaint at the police station. Police officers on duty refused to accept her complaint claiming that the officer entrusted with taking complaints was on leave. Following intimation of this to Election Commissioner, Prof. Rathnajeevan Hoole, the complaint was accepted by the Police. CMEV was also informed that Police Officers engaged in persuading her against including some parts of her complaint on the grounds that they were not necessary or relevant to the complaint.

We strongly urge you to take appropriate measures in this regard to strengthen and protect the integrity of the electoral process.

Thank you,
Your sincerely

Dr. P. Saravanamuttu,
Co-Convener
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence.

Copies: Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, Chairman, Elections Commission of Sri Lanka, Elections Secretariat,
President Counsel, Mr. Nalin Abeyesekara, Member of Elections Commission,
Prof. S. Rathnajeevan H. Hoole, Member of Elections Commission,
Mr. C. D. Wickramarathne, Senior Deputy Inspector General (Administration and elections), Sri Lanka Police
Mr. Ravi Peiris, Deputy Inspector General, Legal and Disciplinary division
Mr. V. P. C. A. Siriwardhana, Deputy Inspector General, Puttalam
M. I. S. I. Bandara, Assistant Election Commissioner, District office of Elections, Puttalam.