Presidential Election 2010: Election Day Media Communiqué No. 3

Read this in full as a PDF here. Map of location here.

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3rd Media Communiqué, 26th January 2010, 1030Hrs

CMEV received reports of multiple explosions in Nallur, Uduppidy, Manipay, Vaddukottai, Chavakachcheri and Tellipallai. CMEV’s mobile teams were dispatched to a number of locations where the attacks had reportedly taken place. CMEV teams verified damages at the following locations.

  1. A push bike parked overnight in front of the polling station, J/Chunnakam Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School (Polling Station Nos 28) was damaged.
  2. A tea shop has been damaged on Point Pedro Road, behind Nallur Temple, 500m of J/Nallur Station Church of Ceylon Tamil Mixed School (Hall No 1-3 Polling Stations 35-37).
  3. A tree has been damaged in front of the Jaffna Municipal Council’s Fire Brigade, Point Pedro Road within 500m of J/Nallur Station Church of Ceylon Tamil Mixed School (Hall No 1-3 Polling Stations Nos 35-37).
  4. A shop Arasady Road in Nallur within 150m from J/Kandarmadam Saivapiragasa Vidyalayam (Polling Centre No 41).

CMEV spoke with eye witnesses who said that within an hour of the incident a white van passed by the location in Arasady Road and Point Pedro Road.

CMEV contacted the police station in Jaffna, which is investigating one of the attacks following a police complaint.  CMEV also received reports of attacks on polling centres including J/Waddukodai Hindu College(Polling Centre No 21) but observed no damages. These incidents are in addition to the hand grenade attack on the residence of Subramaniam Sharma, SLFP Uduppidi Coordinator, in Valvattithurai at around 3.30 am today reported by CMEV earlier.

CMEV was informed that most internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps in Vavuniya and having a vote in other districts were still waiting to travel to their polling centres. CMEV was previously informed by Returning Officers of the areas that transport arrangements would be arranged and IDPs informed of the arrangements. At 11am CMEV was informed that only two busses with IDPs from Ramanathan camp in Vavuniya had left for Killinochchi and many others were waiting by the road outside the camp to be transported to their polling centres. CMEV monitors report that as of 09:00 am, potential voters in zone 5, 6, 7 and 8 (1,098 registered voters) were still waiting for transport. CMEV raised this issue with Assistant Transportation Officer, Mrs Pathmaraanjini who reported that 48 buses had been deployed within the Vavuniya District and 30 buses to transport voters to areas including Killinochchi and Mullaitivu. Sixteen of the 30 buses had arrived as of 11.30 a.m and the 14 are reportedly on the way.

CMEV was further informed that many IDPs had turned up to vote in Manik Farm camps in Vavuniya though not all were in possession of the specified identity documents recognized by the Election Commissioner. As a result authorities had allowed temporary camp cards issued by the Police to be used as identity documents. Though this measure allows those displaced and affected by conflict to cast their vote, CMEV is concerned that the use of temporary camp cards alone can lead to possible abuse.

CMEV was also informed of a case of a released ‘surrendee’ from the PRI Technical College currently living in Point Pedro with a relative who is registered to vote at the College but who has not been notified of travel arrangements. The Assistant Election Commissioner Kugathanan informed CMEV that he has no information from the Government relating to the whereabouts of releases and returnees and therefore cannot inform them about transport arrangements.

CMEV is deeply concerned that the spate of violent incidents in Jaffna immediately before the commencement of polling and in the early hours of polling, indicate a systematic attempt to disrupt voting and ensure a low voter turnout in the peninsula.  CMEV’s concern is reinforced by the simple fact of this election being our first post war national election and the one in which the people of the north have an opportunity to demonstrate their faith in and commitment to democratic processes in Sri Lanka. This is especially regrettable given the imperatives of peace, reconciliation and national unity.

We call on election officials to ensure that the transport arrangements for IDPs are met.  It is important that delays in transport arrangements do not affect voter turn out adversely.

Presidential Election 2010: Election Day Media Communiqué No. 2

Read this press release in full as a PDF here. Map location here.

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Vaddukottai, Chavakachcheri and Tellipallai. CMEV’s mobile teams were dispatched to a number of locations where the attacks had reportedly taken place. CMEV teams verified damages at the following locations.

  1. A push bike parked overnight in front of the polling station, J/Chunnakam Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School (Polling Station Nos 28) was damaged.
  2. A tea shop has been damaged on Point Pedro Road, behind Nallur Temple, 500m of J/Nallur Station Church of Ceylon Tamil Mixed School (Hall No 1-3 Polling Stations 35-37).
  3. A tree has been damaged in front of the Jaffna Municipal Council’s Fire Brigade, Point Pedro Road within 500m of J/Nallur Station Church of Ceylon Tamil Mixed School (Hall No 1-3 Polling Stations Nos 35-37).
  4. A shop Arasady Road in Nallur within 150m from J/Kandarmadam Saivapiragasa Vidyalayam (Polling Centre No 41).

CMEV spoke with eye witnesses who said that within an hour of the incident a white van passed by the location in Arasady Road and Point Pedro Road.

CMEV contacted the police station in Jaffna, which is investigating one of the attacks following a police complaint.  CMEV also received reports of attacks on polling centres including J/Waddukodai Hindu College(Polling Centre No 21) but observed no damages. These incidents are in addition to the hand grenade attack on the residence of Subramaniam Sharma, SLFP Uduppidi Coordinator, in Valvattithurai at around 3.30 am today reported by CMEV earlier.

CMEV was informed that most internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps in Vavuniya and having a vote in other districts were still waiting to travel to their polling centres. CMEV was previously informed by Returning Officers of the areas that transport arrangements would be arranged and IDPs informed of the arrangements. At 11am CMEV was informed that only two busses with IDPs from Ramanathan camp in Vavuniya had left for Killinochchi and many others were waiting by the road outside the camp to be transported to their polling centres. CMEV monitors report that as of 09:00 am, potential voters in zone 5, 6, 7 and 8 (1,098 registered voters) were still waiting for transport. CMEV raised this issue with Assistant Transportation Officer, Mrs Pathmaraanjini who reported that 48 buses had been deployed within the Vavuniya District and 30 buses to transport voters to areas including Killinochchi and Mullaitivu. Sixteen of the 30 buses had arrived as of 11.30 a.m and the 14 are reportedly on the way.

CMEV was further informed that many IDPs had turned up to vote in Manik Farm camps in Vavuniya though not all were in possession of the specified identity documents recognized by the Election Commissioner. As a result authorities had allowed temporary camp cards issued by the Police to be used as identity documents. Though this measure allows those displaced and affected by conflict to cast their vote, CMEV is concerned that the use of temporary camp cards alone can lead to possible abuse.

CMEV was also informed of a case of a released ‘surrendee’ from the PRI Technical College currently living in Point Pedro with a relative who is registered to vote at the College but who has not been notified of travel arrangements. The Assistant Election Commissioner Kugathanan informed CMEV that he has no information from the Government relating to the whereabouts of releases and returnees and therefore cannot inform them about transport arrangements.

CMEV is deeply concerned that the spate of violent incidents in Jaffna immediately before the commencement of polling and in the early hours of polling, indicate a systematic attempt to disrupt voting and ensure a low voter turnout in the peninsula.  CMEV’s concern is reinforced by the simple fact of this election being our first post war national election and the one in which the people of the north have an opportunity to demonstrate their faith in and commitment to democratic processes in Sri Lanka. This is especially regrettable given the imperatives of peace, reconciliation and national unity.

We call on election officials to ensure that the transport arrangements for IDPs are met.  It is important that delays in transport arrangements do not affect voter turn out adversely.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 23

Read this communique in full as a PDF here.

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On 25th January 2009, the eve of Election Day, CMEV received the following complaints as of 11.45 pm.

Rathnapura District, Rathnapura Electorate

Type of Violation: Election Offence

According to a fax received from the Common Candidate Media Unit, several ballot boxes were found at the UPFA main office, located at Bandaranayake Mawatha in Rathnapura. It was alleged that a large group of UPFA politicians were stuffing these boxes with fraudulent ballot papers. The fax was also copied to the Assistant Election Commissioner.

When contacted, Senior Assistant Election Commissioner Rathnapura Mr. M.A.P.G Perrera told CMEV that he visited the location with two Police Officers and a representative of the District Elections Commissioners Office at approximately 10.00 a.m. He stated that a large group of politicians were not at the location as alleged, and there were also no ballot boxes found following a thorough search of the premises. He added that the only unlawful material found at the location were a few specimen ballot papers, and said that he asked persons in the party office to destroy them immediately. He also said that he first received information regarding the incident from UNP Member of Parliament Ms. Thalatha Athukorala, and as such he had asked her to come and meet him if she wished to see the material that was at the UPFA office, as he had brought back a specimen ballot paper with him.

Rathnapura District, Eheliyagoda Electorate

Type of Violation: Election Offence

According to UNP supporter Mr. Upul Priyantha, between approximately 10.00 am and 4.00 pm today, a special Samurdhi payment of Rs. 3,600 was distributed amongst Samurdhi recipients of the Ellawela GN Division. A promotional leaflet requesting persons to vote for the incumbent President was also distributed along with this payment. According to Mr. Priyantha, the payment as well as leaflet was distributed by Samurdhi Naiyamaka for Ellawela Mrs. Vinitha Nandani.

When contacted, Mrs. Nandani told CMEV that the payment was made under a Samurdhi Assistance Program, and a leaflet regarding the program was distributed amongst the recipients, and not a promotional leaflet of the President. She added that it was not a special payment, but the regular Samurdhi assistance payment. When asked if she had a copy of the leaflet, she said that she did, and abruptly hung up on CMEV. She did not answer subsequent calls. CMEV has received copies of leaflets that were allegedly distributed. They are very clearly promotional material for the incumbent President, bearing his campaign slogan, party symbol and cross.

When contacted, the Eheliyagoda Police PC Premalal told CMEV that they knew nothing of the incident.

Polonnaruwa District, Polonnaruwa Electorate

Type of Violation: Threat and Intimidation

According to UNP supporter Mr. H.M. Senevirathne, at 11.30pm on the 24th of January and at 2.00am on the 25th of January UPFA Dimbulagala Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Dhammika Nishantha Kumara and approximately 15 others who arrived in a vehicle, allegedly attacked the home of UNP supporter Mr. G. Abeywardena in 87 Nidhanwala, Daminna with stones, causing damage to the windows of the house.

Kurunegela District, Hiriyala Electorate

The Gokarella Police confirmed that they had taken into custody 23 persons who were traveling by a private bus.  OIC Vitharana stated to CMEV that the Police are investigating an allegation that this group was carrying arms. He was unwilling to provide CMEV with any information as to who had made the complaint. OIC Vitharana stated that those in custody claimed that they were Sarath Fonseka supporters and that some were on their way to an almsgiving and others to a pooja. At 11.45 pm he added that they had been transferred to the Kurungela Police Station and will be questioned by the Crimes Branch.

Sub Inspector Ranga attached to Minister and UPFA Organiser Salinda Dissanayke alleged that these persons are retired and serving military personnel and deserters. The lawyer for the UNP in the district Felician Perera informed CMEV that an arrest had been made and that he was in the process of obtaining more information about the arrest. Police spokesperson I.M. Karunaratne stated that 20 persons were taken into custody at around 7.45 pm by the Gokarella Police on suspicion of carrying illegal weapons. He also claimed that there are deserters and retired army personnel in the group, but no serving officers.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 21

Read the full report as a PDF here.

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Western Province

Bomb Attack in Colombo

At approximately 4.50am this morning, an explosive device was thrown at the home of the Secretary and National Organizer of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mr. Tiran Alles, located at Galpoththa Road, Nawala, resulting in severe damage to his vehicle and house. Mr. Alles and his family were unharmed.

According to the OIC Welikada Police CI Neville de Silva a complaint has been lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB/07/25.  SSP Mirihana Division Deshabandu Tennekoon, the nature of the explosive has not yet been confirmed, and the forensic report is pending. It has therefore been identified as an explosive device. The Kotte Municipal Council Fire Brigade said that two fire engines were deployed to contain the fire.

When contacted, Mr. Alles told CMEV that at approximately 4.50 am, his Security Officer Mr. Nalaka Liyanage had heard the sound of a vehicle outside the gate and had seen something being thrown over the wall, subsequent to which there was a large explosion. Mr. Alles added that he suspects President Rajapaksa and Chairman of the JNP Mr. Wimal Weerawanse of being behind the attack.

This attack comes in the wake of statements to the media yesterday (21st) by Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing and Member of Parliament Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, alleging a plot by the Rajapaksa regime to assassinate Mr. Alles.

Southern Province

Attempted Murder and Assault in Matara

According to Southern Provincial Councilor Mr. Gayan Sanjeewa (UNP), at 1.45am the vehicle (64-209) in which Mr. Sanjeewa was traveling in, was shot at by a group of unidentified persons who arrived in 3 vehicles (white car, white van, black double cab), resulting in damages to the vehicle. The attackers had initially shot at the vehicle from behind, while Mr. Sanjeewa was in the back seat, and subsequently shot twice at the rear right door of the vehicle. Mr. Sanjeewa told CMEV that he firmly believed that it was an attack on his life, but Mr. Sanjeewa was not injured in the incident.

However, as Mr. Sanjeewa’s vehicle sped forward in order to escape the attack the assailants had subsequently assaulted a supporter Mr. Muditha Gayashan who was not traveling in a vehicle, resulting in Mr. Gayashan suffering bruising. Mr. Gayashan is currently receiving treatment in ward 3 of the Matara Hospital. Mr. Sanjeewa and his supporters were in the process of decorating the road leading from Kamburugamuwa to Matara with campaign material when the attack took place.

When contacted, Official of the Elections Branch Matara Police SI Chaminda told CMEV that the vehicle had 3 bullet holes and the weapon used was a T-56. He added that as the attackers’ vehicle numbers were not identified by the victims, the vehicles had not been traced as yet, but that investigations are underway. A complaint bearing the number EIB 388/83 has been lodged at the Matara Police by Mr. V.A. Lalith Anuruddha, Personal Secretary to Mr. Sanjeewa.

Mr. Anuruddha confirmed to CMEV that the initial shots were fired from the back of the vehicle targeting Mr. Sanjeewa. He added that he also heard the attackers yelling to each other to kill Mr. Sanjeewa. Mr. Anuruddha and Mr. Sanjeewa both told CMEV that they suspect the UPFA of the attack, though they did not name a specific person.

When contacted, a staff member of the UPFA Matara Office told CMEV that they had not heard of the incident, and that they were in no way involved. The staff member refused to provide his name or designation, and no longer picks up CMEV’s calls.

Eastern Province

Grenade Attack in Batticaloa

According to SLMC supporter Mr. Buhari Mohommed Mubharak, at 3.00am this morning, a grenade was lobbed at the front of his home located at Chemmanodai, Ottamawadi, by unidentified persons, causing damage to walls and windows of the house. No one was injured in the attack. Mr. Mubharak added that neighbours had seen a motorbike leaving the vicinity of the premises. He added that he called 119 at 3.05am, the Army arrived on the scene at 3.20am and the Valachchenai Police arrived on the scene at approximately 3.40am. Mr. Mubharak also stated that while he had not seen the attackers, he suspected UPFA supporter Mr. Y.S. Mansoor may be involved as Mr. Manoor had on several occasion tried to get Mr. Mubharak to work for the UPFA.

When contacted, Elections OIC of the Valachchenai Police SI Bandara Balasuriya confirmed the grenade attack to CMEV, adding that the damages were not severe.

Valachchenai Police CI Kodisinghe told CMEV that a complaint has been lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB 98-109. CI Kodisinghe told CMEV that Mr. Mubharak seemed very afraid and did not initially name the suspects, but that he subsequently spoke of several threats from UPFA supporter Mr. Y.S. Mansoor. The complaint for the incident was initially recorded as a GCR, but moved later to the EIB.

North Central Province

Shooting in Anuradhapura

According to North Central Provincial Councilor (UNP) Mr. Prasanna Mahindarathne, at 1.05am this morning, a group of unidentified persons had arrived in a van, parked in front of Mr. Mahindarathne’s house located in Kalundegama, broken the lights on the gate, and fired approximately 30 shots at his house. The majority of the shots had struck a canter (NCLD 4377) that was parked in front of the house, while approximately 4 shots had struck his house. One of these shots had entered a room through a lattice. No one was injured in the attack.

Mr. Mahindarathne called 119 right away, but the Police only arrived at the scene at approximately 2.30am. Mr. Mahindarathne stated that 3-4 soldiers from the Kalundegama Army Training Camp located in the vicinity of his house, had visited his home this morning, and that they had identified the weapon as being a T-56, based on the bullet casings and the one bullet that entered the house. He added that the soldiers had stated that this particular type of bullet was only used by the Police. Based on eyewitness description of the attackers by his Secretary Mr. Alexander, Mr. Mahindarathne suspects Mr. Ajith Kumara, Secretary to the Non Cabinet Minister of Petroleum Resources Mr. Duminda Dissanayake, and Mr. Shaman Pradeep, a UPFA supporter, are responsible for the attacks.

Mr. Mahindarathne added that he had not named the suspects in his complaint to the Police, citing previous incidents of partiality. CMEV previously reported an incident on the 17th of January, in which the suspects named in this incident, allegedly attempted to assault and then threaten Mr. Mahindarathne with a fire arm, while in the premises of the Thambuththegama Police.

When contacted, the OIC Thambuththegama Police IP Thalwatte told CMEV that the Police visited the location twice, and that the weapon used has been confirmed as a T-56. He said that no attackers were identified in the complaint. He confirmed that Mr. Mahindarathne had requested Police protection citing death threats, but that they were unable to provide such protection without an order from the DIG. CMEV was asked to call back later to obtain information regarding the complaint.

Subsequently, when CMEV contacted the Thambuththegama Police as requested, an Officer who refused to provide his name also refused to provide the number of the complaint, or state whether the complaint was recorded in the Elections Information Book or the Crimes Information Book, citing orders from above to not provide any info to anyone other than the Police Media Spokesperson.

A map of shame: Clustering cities and regions with very high levels of election violence

CMEV’s latest cumulative monitoring update flags a number of cities and regions with a very high number of major and minor reports of election violence to date. Please note that the CMEV map does not indicate the full range of incidents covered in detail in our situation updates. What follows are some highlights from the map.


Polonnaruwa


Matara


Ampara


Tissamaharama


Tangalla


Wellawaya

Field Visit to Jaffna, Killinochchi & Vavuniya

This report can be downloaded in full as a PDF from here. Read it in Tamil here.

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) conducted a field visit to the Jaffna, Killinochchi and Vavuniya districts from 17-19th January 2010 to monitor the situation prior to the 26th January Presidential election. CMEV met with residents of the area including those who had recently returned, internally displaced person (IDPs), civil society groups, agencies and government officials.

Continue Reading

Urgent news update: Bomb attack against National Organizer of the SLFP Mahajana Wing

At approximately 4.50am this morning, an explosive device was thrown at the home of the Secretary and National Organizer of the SLFP Mahajana Wing Mr. Tiran Alles, located at Galpoththa Road, Nawala, resulting in severe damage to his vehicle and house. Mr. Alles and his family were unharmed.

According to the OIC Welikada Police CI Neville de Silva a complaint has been lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB/07/25. SSP Mirihana Division Deshabandu Tennekoon, the nature of the explosive has not yet been confirmed, and the forensic report is pending. It has therefore been identified as an explosive device. The Kotte Municipal Council Fire Brigade said that two fire engines were deployed to contain the fire.

When contacted, Mr. Alles told CMEV that at approximately 4.50 am, his Security Officer Mr. Nalaka Liyanage had heard the sound of a vehicle outside the gate and had seen something being thrown over the wall, subsequent to which there was a large explosion. Mr. Alles added that he suspects President Rajapaksa and Chairman of the JNP Mr. Wimal Weerawanse of being behind the attack.

This attack comes in the wake of statements to the media yesterday (21st) by Leader of the SLFP Mahajana Wing and Member of Parliament Mr. Mangala Samaraweera alleging a plot by the Rajapaksa regime to assassinate Mr. Alles.

CMEV will release a full press statement upon further clarification of information.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 19

Report released on 20 January 2010. Download it as a PDF here.

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Eastern Province

Hurt and Arson in Ampara

According to NC supporter Mr. Saleem Raniz, at 3.30am this morning, he was assaulted and his motorbike (GQ 9978) was set on fire, by SLMC supporters Attalachchenai Provincial Councilor Mr. Mazoor Sinnalebbei (who arrived in a dark blue vehicle), Mr. A.L. Makkeen, Mr. R. Nawaz and Mr. Nauzath, at Noor Mosque Road, Attalachchenai. Mr. Raniz had fled the scene when assaulted, leaving his motorbike behind, at which point it had been set on fire by the attackers. According to a staff member at the Akkaraipattu Hospital, Mr. Raniz was admitted to ward 5 of the hospital, and is receiving treatment for injuries to his arms and knee.

As has been the case on several previous occasions, the Akkaraipattu Police did not provide any information to CMEV regarding the incident. When contacted, the Akkaraipattu Police gave CMEV the mobile number of the Elections Branch OIC Dissanayake. OIC Dissanayake when contacted, told CMEV to contact the Akkaraipattu Police station. When subsequently contacted the OIC cut the line on CMEV twice.

When contacted, Mr. Mazoor Sinnalebbei told CMEV that he was in no way involved with the incident.

Hurt in Batticaloa

According to the CMEV monitor, at approximately 10.15am on the 19th of January, UNP supporter and Former Member of Parliament TNA Mr. Gnananuttu Krishnapillai (a.k.a. Vellimalai) was assaulted by TMVP supporter Mr. Thayagan and 2 others in the vicinity of the Palugamam Kandumani Vidyalaya, Kalavanchikudi, resulting in head injuries. The attackers had arrived in a white van. According to a staff member at the Batticaloa Hospital, Mr. Krishnapillai had three stitches to his head.

At approximately 9.15am, Mr. Krishnapillai received a phone call from an unidentified person, threatening him to stop his work for the UNP if he wished to remain safe. Mr. Krishnapillai was in the process of organizing transport for supporters to attend General Fonseka’s rally that was due to be held at approximately 2.00pm in Batticaloa, when he was attacked. Mr. Krishnapillai had obtained treatment from the hospital and proceeded to General Fonseka’s rally. Later that evening at approximately 4.30pm, another call was made to Mr. Krishnapillai’s house, which was answered by his son. The caller had said that this was the final warning given to Mr. Krishnapillai and that he should stop his activities for the UNP immediately.

According to an Officer at the Kalavanchikudi Police, a complaint has been lodged in this regard, bearing the number EIB 05/22.

When contacted Organizer for TMVP Batticaloa Mr. Prasathan told CMEV that he had heard of the assault, but claimed he did not know if their party supporters were involved.

Western Province

Attack on Party Office and Assault in Colombo

According to a fax received from Sirikotha, at approximately 12.45am, Mr. M.A.D. Roshan Chanaka was struck at the back of his neck, by an unknown person at Ihala Bomiriya, Kaduwela. According to a staff member at the Navagamuwa Hospital, Mr. Chanaka was admitted to ward 1, had received treatment for bruising, and has been discharged subsequently.

According to Western Provincial Councilor Mr. Jayantha Katagoda, at approximately 12.40am, the UNP party office located at Ihala Bomiriya was attacked by a group of unknown persons, and Mr. Chanaka who lives in the vicinity, had come to the location upon hearing loud noises, at which point he was assaulted.

When contacted, Election OIC of the Navagamuwa Police SI Muditha told CMEV that a minor assault had taken place, adding that the complaints related to both the party office attack as well as the assault, had been recorded in the Crimes Information Book, CIB II/302/273 and CIB II/301/272 respectively.

Northern Province

Hurt and Damage to Property in Jaffna District

According to a fax received from Sirikotha, at approximately 4.00pm on the 19th of January, UNP supporters Mr. M. Lawakumar, Mr. R. Ramesh and several others who were returning from campaigning for General Fonseka, were assaulted by a group of unidentified persons at the Iranamadu Junction. The attackers had also caused damage to the vehicle (WPG0792) in which the victims traveled.

When contacted, OIC Elections Branch Kilinochchi Police SI Ratnayake told CMEV that 2 persons were injured in the incident, and taken to the Kilinochchi Hospital for treatment. A complaint bearing the number EIB/01/2010 has been lodged at the station.

When contacted, Nursing Officer Mr. R. Rahavan told CMEV that Mr. Lawakumar was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Unit, received treatment, and has now been discharged.

Southern Province

Hurt in Galle

According to a fax received from Mr. Themiya Hurulle of the NDF party, at approximately 12.30am on the 19th of January, JVP supporter Mr. Lamal Gamlath was assaulted by Mr. Manoj and Mr. Nalin who arrived on a motorbike, while he was decorating a JVP party office located at Thalgaspe, Pitigala. Mr. Gamlath suffered injuries to his forehead and was admitted to ward 1 of the Elpitiya Hospital as confirmed by the CMEV monitor. Mr. Gamlath was then moved to the Karapitiya Hospital by his relatives and presently remains in ward 9 as confirmed by a hospital staff member. Two other persons Mr. Anura and Mr. Vijay were also with Mr. Gamlath, but fled the scene upon arrival of the attackers.

When contacted, the OIC Deepal of the Pitigala Police told CMEV that they could not provide any information regarding the incident as it was lodged as CIB. He asked CMEV to obtain information from the Media Spokesperson.

OIC Amarasinghe of the Election Branch of the Elpitiya Divisional Police Station told CMEV that they have received information regarding the incident, including the names of the attackers. He added that there are other allegations against Mr. Manoj, who is currently being sought by the Police, but he has thus far not been apprehended. He told CMEV that investigations into the incident are currently underway.

Mr. Gamlath had told the CMEV monitor that he suspects the attackers to be UPFA party supporters. According to Pradeshiya Sabbha member for Elpitiya Mr. Amila Kariyawasam, they have received information regarding the incident, according to which they believe that the attack was personal and not election related.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 18

Read this full report as a PDF here.

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All election monitoring organizations as well as other concerned civil society groups have voiced their grave concern over the escalation of election related violence, the misuse of state property and the flouting of the authority of the Election Commissioner.   The latter is especially disturbing following the decision of the Commissioner to withdraw the Competent Authority he appointed in respect of state media institutions and the frustration he has repeatedly expressed over the consistent disregard of his directives.

CMEV reiterates these concerns and highlights the adverse impact electoral violence, abuse of state resources and violations of election laws have on the integrity of the electoral process.  Given its mandate, CMEV is particularly concerned with the escalation of violence in the last week and the likelihood of more violence in the immediate lead up to polling day and on polling day. This follows a pattern set in previous elections in which the last week of the campaign records a spike in the incidence of violence, which could persist into polling day as well.

The nature and level of violence in this election can be gauged from the following profile and comparison with the last two presidential elections in 1999 and 2005.

In this election campaign, CMEV has of 19 January 2010 recorded a cumulative total of 667 incidents of election related violence of which 294 incidents or 44% have been categorized as Major.  In the 1999 Presidential Election campaign the percentage figure for Major incidents was 48 and in the 2005 election the figure was 37%.

In this election so far 95 or 32% of the Major incidents have involved the use of firearms.  The corresponding figures for the 1999 and 2005 elections are 31% and 20% respectively.  It should be noted that the figure for this election is higher than that for the 1999 election, which was held in wartime.

This election has recorded 05 Murders, 78 incidents of Assault and 81 of Threat and Intimidation as of 20 January 2010.  As a percentage of the total of Major Incidents this works out to 1%, 26% and 27% respectively.

In the 1999 election the percentage figure for Assaults was 41% of Major Incidents and in 2005 it was 45%.  Corresponding figures for Murders and Threat and Intimidation in the 1999 and 2005 elections are 6% and 19% in 1999 and in 2005, 2% and 10% respectively.

The district wise profile of the 294 Major incidents recorded is as follows:

Hambantota– 27 or 9% of the total of Major incidents

Kurunegala district 25 or 8%

The Galle district follows closely behind with 19 incidents, Colombo and Anuradhapura districts come next with 18 incidents each.

In the 1999 election, district wise the total of 712 Major incidents broke down as follows:

Kurunegala – 97 or 13%

Colombo – 94 or 13%

Anuradhapura – 63 or 8%

District-wise corresponding figures for the181 in 2005 are as follows:

Digamadulla – 24 or 13%

Gampaha -19 or 10%

Puttalam– 17 or 9%

Given the rise in election violence in this, Sri Lanka’s first post-war election, CMEV calls on all concerned, especially the two main candidates and their supporters to act immediately to ensure the integrity of the electoral process and the credibility of this election.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 17

As of 19th January 2010, CMEV has confirmed a cumulative total of 658 incidents of election related violence of which 295 incidents have been categorized as Major. Of these, 5 incidents are Murders, 5 are Attempted Murders, 78 are Assault, 81 are Threat and Intimidation, 30 are Grievous Hurts, 35 are Hurts, 36 are cases of Misuse of State Resources and 12 are Robberies and 13 are Arsons. The total number of incidents involving the use of firearms is 95. In addition, 363 incidents have been categorized as Minor.

Download the full report here.

Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 16

This update released 18 January 2010.

North Western Province

Grenade Attack and Murder in Kurunegala

CMEV has learned that at approximately 7.30pm this evening, Mr. D.M. Suranga Indrajith (27), the diver of Minister of Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Mr. Jayaratna Herath, was killed during a grenade attack on the UPFA party office located in Vanduragala, in the vicinity of the home of Minister Herath. According to the Director of the Kurunegala Hospital Dr. N.D.S. Rajamanthri, Mr. Indrajith was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. She stated that she had seen a wound on the victim’s chest, but that she did not examine the body any further. Dr. Rajamanthri added that the postmortem should be concluded by 7.00am tomorrow morning. Kurunegala Consultant JMO Dr. H.M.K. Senanayake when contacted, told CMEV that the Magistrate’s inquiry into the death had not yet been conducted, and that he was presently awaiting the Magistrate’s report.

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