CMEV Bulletin of 10th May 2008 – 2nd Release

 

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

10th May 2008 – 1430 hrs – Media Communiqué 2

 

CMEV has received 25 complaints of election related violence, today 10 May 2008, polling day in the Eastern Provincial Council Election.  Of these, eighteen (18 ) fall into the category of Major Offences. The offences in the latter category include Murder, Attempted Murder, Assault, Threat and Intimidation, Impersonation and Ballot Stuffing.  Of the Major Offences, 13 were reported from Batticaloa, 03 from Ampara and 02 from Trincomalee.

CMEV is concerned that the fears expressed by political parties and monitors regarding an upsurge of violence and malpractice on polling day are being confirmed by accounts of systematic impersonation, ballot stuffing, the chasing way of Polling Agents and the intimidatory presence of armed groups in the vicinity of Polling Stations.  The nature and extent of the violence is such that we call upon the Elections Commissioner to annul the poll in Polling Stations identified below. The context of violence in which this election is taking place has also been reinforced by the sinking of a Sri Lanka Navy logistics vessel inside the Ashraff jetty in the Trincomalee Harbour this morning.  This has been attributed to the LTTE. 

CMEV calls upon all political parties and armed actors to desist from violence and malpractice which endangers human security and the integrity of the electoral process.

AMPARA DISTRICT

SYSTEMATIC IMPERSONATION IN THAMBUVIL, TIRUKOVIL
TMVP supporters at Polling Station 52, AK/Thambiluvil Central Collage were seen removing voter ink from their fingers and returning to vote repeatedly with new Polling cards at around 9.15 a.m. The TMVP office is located right next to the Polling Station. A CMEV monitor reported that there are no Polling Agents of the other political parties inside the Polling Station. A PAFFREL monitor and a Police Officer were present at the Polling Station.  It is also reported that a TMVP supporter was seen in front of the Polling Station carrying a T-56 Weapon. CMEV Colombo office reported this to the SSP Ampara who was unaware of this and said he would investigate.

In 51 AK Thambiluvil Kaleimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil, TMVP members were observed distributing Polling Cards at the entrance to the Polling Station and impersonating voters.  Here too, no Polling Agents from other parties were present in the Polling Station and the Voters List given by the Gramasevaka has reportedly, not been updated.  The distribution of Polling Cards and voter impersonation was observed by CMEV monitors from 10am this morning. When contacted by CMEV, TMVP Ampara Office (0773 971201) stated that no such incident had taken place and that if anyone has lodged such a complaint that the TMVP would investigate it. 

Given the systematic impersonation of voters, CMEV calls for the voting in Polling Stations 51 and 52 to be annulled.

MORTAR ATTACK CLOSE TO POLLING STATIONS
Two Polling Stations – Sri Sudharashanaramaya 2 – C Village and Pannalagama Vidyalaya, Pannalagama, came under mortar attack at approximately 7am this morning. The mortar fell on houses close to the Polling Station. Four people sustained injuries including three women and a child who was grievously hurt. It has been reported in the media that the mortar attack was carried out by the LTTE. The Polling Stations were subsequently re-opened. The police is carrying out investigations. 

Given the violent disruption of the poll that has occurred, CMEV calls upon the Commissioner of Elections to order a re -poll in that Station.

INTIMIDATION AT DEHIATTAKANDIYA
The CMEV monitor in Dehiaththakandiya observed three vehicles (WP KD – 3784 Maruti Alto, 32-3381 Pajero, JF – 3114 Double Cab) in the vicinity of Wevumedagama and Diyawiddagama this morning. CMEV monitors also reported that two people in these vehicles were bearing arms and that they stopped a Land Master tractor carrying voters and snatched their Polling Cards. These voters reported the incident to the CMEV monitor.

Police Officers headed by S.P Samarasinghe and accompanied by STF personnel have arrested the group of armed people traveling in the three vehicles and informed CMEV of the action they had taken. Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara who came to the Police Station claimed that the arrested persons with arms were in his security detail and that he was traveling with them when the reported incident took place. He claimed that the people in the tractor ran away when his vehicle stopped by them, and denies taking their Polling Cards. The Police have released the individuals. No complaints or statements have been recorded.

BATTICALOA

IMPERSONATION IN VALACHCHENAI
CMEV monitors report that voting in Polling Station numbers 58, 59, 60, 68, 69, 72, 73, 75 and 76 has been marred by systematic impersonation including the use of false ID cards and by violence and intimidatory presence in the vicinity of the Polling Stations. CMEV calls upon the Commissioner to order a re -poll in these Polling Stations.

ASSAULT OF PARTY MEMBERS
Two cadres from the EPDP, Siva and Arasaratnam Kalamohan, were allegedly attacked by the organizer for TMVP in Arapattu, Shanthan (Sasi) and his cadres at 1.10 pm today. According to Navaratnam Navam of the EPDP Batticaloa Office, the TMVP were intimidating voters.   Batticaloa Hospital confirmed to CMEV that the two individuals had been admitted.    

OPPOSITION POLLING AGENTS DENIED ACCESS TO POLLING STATION KATHANKUDY
CMEV Monitors report that Polling Agents of Opposition Parties have been denied access to the Polling Stations by TMVP cadres from 7 a.m. this morning at Palamunai Aliyar Vidyalaya Hall No. 2, Kathankudy, Batticaloa.  There are further reports that because of violence by the TMVP against them, no Polling Agents from the other political parties are present in Polling Stations in the area.  CMEV calls upon the opposition political parties in particular, to urge the Commissioner to annul the poll in the area, on account of this.   

ASSAULT OF CANDIDATE IN KATTANKUDY
Farook Majeed of SLMC complained to CMEV that Mr. Mohammed Nilam Candidate No 10 of Independent Group was assaulted near the Polling Booth by alleged UPFA supporters when he was trying to enter the polling booth at 110 Hiluriya Vidyalaya Kattankudy 03  at 9 am. According to Majeed he was admitted to the Kattankudy Hospital. The hospital stated that there was no such case, but Mr. Majeed insists that he was injured, received treatment and left the hospital. No Police complaint has been made as of noon.

UNTOWARD INFLUENCE 
CMEV Monitors report that UNP and SLMC supporters were using the PA system of the Mosque near Mavadichchennai at 8 a.m. to dissuade voters from supporting  the UPFA. They are reported as saying that those who do will “Face Consequences” and that they, the SLMC and UNP supporters will not “guarantee the safety of such voters.” 

TRINCOMALEE

ASSAULT AND OBSTRUCTION OF VOTING
At Tiriyaya Maha Vidyalaya, Kuchchaveli a large group of people allegedly assaulted voters at 7 am. According SLMC Leader, Rauf Hakeem, the thugs were both inside and outside the Polling Station and that they were preventing people from casting their vote. He claimed that this continued and was on going, at 8.30 am. The OIC confirmed that people had been prevented from voting.

CMEV calls upon the Commissioner to order a re – poll in this Polling Station.

CMEV MONITORS NOT PERMITTED TO MONITOR POLLING IN PALATHOPPUR
CMEV monitors were not permitted to visit polling stations in Palathoppur and were detained at a check point at around 10.40 a.m. today. They were taken in for questioning to the Muttur Police Station and as of noon, they have been released and allowed to continue with their monitoring work.

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition Against Political Violence as an independent and non-partisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. It is currently constituted by CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.

                                                                     

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU               MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA               MS. SEETHA RANJANI      

CO – CONVENOR                                                      CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR

 

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CMEV Bulletin of 10th May 2008 -2.00 am – 1st Release

 

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

10th May 2008 – 2.00 am – Media Communiqué 1

 

Batticaloa District

Intimidation of voters in Padirippu
Armed TMVP cadres reportedly intimidated voters in a number of houses in Kaludawali Village, Padirippu, late evening. The TMVP cadres had taken the polling cards of the voters.

CMEV contacted Kalawanchikudi Police Station who informed us that a complaint had been made and that mobile teams were investigating the incident. PLOTE Leader Sidharthan confirmed that the TMVP cadres had been involved in taking polling cards from Kaludaweli Villagers last evening. 

Intimidation of SPO at Kalladi
A Senior Polling Officer from the Kalladi area informed CMEV that the TMVP had called him at midnight on the 8th and told him that no voters should be allowed into the polling station after twelve noon on polling day. 

Intimidation in Valaichennai
The occupants of seven houses have been subject to intimidation from around 6.30 pm last evening. The occupants of the houses in Ottamavadi (2 houses), Meeravodini (3 houses) and Valaichennai (2 houses) were reportedly SLMC supporters who were threatened by thugs.

One of the houses that was attacked in Ottamavadi belonged to Mr  S.M.L. Haniffa, former provincial council member. Mr Haniffa told CMEV  that the thugs came in a white van at 7.50 p.m. with a police constable seated in front who did not get down, They threatened the Haniffa family members and told them not to vote. They broke some of the  windows in the house. The thugs were dressed in black with black masks.

CMEV was also informed that Kalkuda F.M (96.1) is broadcasting propaganda for the UPFA. It is alleged that the radio operates from Minister Ameer Ali’s house. 

Minister Ameer Ali contacted CMEV to make a complaint about being threatened on the phone. He claimed that the phone number from which the call was made is 071 491 0458. When CMEV tried this number, the phone was not connected. Minister Ameer Ali also denied that he was involved in any of the violence and stated that the radio station stopped broadcasting on the 8th night. 

When contacted, the Valaichennai Police they said that there had been some minor incidents and complaints regarding the stoning of houses. Mobile Police teams had been directed to conduct investigations. Mr Haniffa, one of the victims who was threatened, informed CMEV that an A.S.P. had come to his house to conduct an inquiry. The OIC Valaichennai, I.P. Kodisinghe informed CMEV that the Police had requested the army to help maintain law and order.

Ampara District

Assault and Attack in Padiyatallawa
UNP supporter, Mr Dayaratne was attacked in his house in Kiriwana, Padiyatallawa last night and the windows of his house broken. He sustained injuries in the attack, but they are reported to not be of a serious nature. When contacted by CMEV, the Police in Padiyatallawa said that they have received a complaint and have visited the site of the incident. According to the Police, the victim claimed that he was unable to identify the assailants.

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition Against Political Violence as an independent and non-partisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. It is currently constituted by CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.

                                                                     

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU               MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA               MS. SEETHA RANJANI      

CO – CONVENOR                                                      CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR

 

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CMEV Bulletin of 9th May 2008 -2200hrs -1st Release

 

 

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

9th May 2008 – 2200 hrs – Media Communiqué 1

The major incidents of election violence reported to CMEV are highlighted below. Other complaints alleging the misuse of State resources, distribution of state benefits, intimidation of party workers and other civilians were also reported to CMEV.

Ampara District

Explosion in Ampara
An explosion took place at City Café, Main Street, Ampara Town at 5.40 pm this evening. CMEV was at the scene of the incident. The Ampara General Hospital told CMEV that 12 people have been killed in the blast and 30 have been injured, some seriously. The identity of perpetrators is unknown. Investigations are on going.

Assault and Intimidation in Dehiattakandiya
UNP Polling Agent and Branch Chairman of Dambunnaruwa party office, Dehiattakandiya, K.Amarasiriwardena was  assaulted by supporters of Minister Mervyn Silva on May 9 at approximately 11 a.m in the morning. One of the thugs allegedly stuffed posters into Amarasiriwardena’s mouth. Amarasiriwardena alleges that they came in eight vehicles and  that ‘Kudu Lal’was one of the thugs. 

A complaint was made by the UNP to the Dehiattakandiya Police. According to the UNP the police failed to take timely action. The UNP also claims that there have been other incidents of this nature where the police have failed to take action. The UNP organized a protest opposite the police station this afternoon.

When contacted by CMEV, the police stated that a complaint had been made and that  investigations  are on going.

UNP Branch Chairman, Linton Hewage  was assaulted by thugs at his house which was being used as the UNP office in Bakmeedeniya on May 8 at 6.30 p.m. The thugs reportedly came in three vehicles (NA – 8284, 252 – 7323, 57 – 7768). A complaint has been lodged with the Dehiattakandiya Police (CIB/192/62).

An office clerk of the Dehiattakandiya UNP Branch Office, Mr A.M. Abeyratne was assaulted by the thugs who came in the three vehicles listed above at about 3.30 pm today. A complaint has been lodged with the Dehiattakandiya Police (CIB/194/62).

Mr H. K. Ranjith (candidate number 16 of the Independent Group Number 11) was assaulted this afternoon by the thugs who came in the three vehicles referred to above at the Independent Party Office in Sandunpura. It was reported that office equipment was damaged.   

It was also reported that a gun was fired this afternoon near the Serupitiya Office of the UNP. The group which carried out the attack arrived in a Pajero number (SH – 5576). Media Coordinator of the UNP in Dehiattakandiya, Mr A.R.K. Bandara made the complaint to CMEV.   

CMEV also observed that UPFA candidates’ posters are still being displayed in Dehiattakandiya. Police informed CMEV that they would be removed tomorrow.

Batticaloa District

Arson in Kathankudy
Five houses owned by Usuf Lebbe Fatuma, Katch Umma, Siddique, Faleel and Iqbal in Kathankudi were set on fire between 4 a.m- 4.30 a.m on 9th May . The house owners are SLMC supporters. The attackers were  identified by Mr Farouk Majeed, Deputy Chairman of the SLMC as Amirali Durgam Moodil, M. Anwer and M. Hussain, UPFA supporters of candidate M. Hisbullah.  

A police complaint was lodged with the Kathankudi Police (E1B 249/35). Following the incident, the Kathankudy Police confirmed that three people were taken into custody.

Allegations against Minister Ameer Ali
CMEV monitors reported a clash between UPFA supporters of Minister Ameer Ali and UNP supporters in Oddamavadi this evening.  The clash was subsequently resolved by the intervention of the OIC Police of the area.  No one was injured in the clash.

CMEV spoke to the minister who denied any involvement in the violence.  Minister Ameer Ali also confirmed to CMEV that he had shut down the Kalkudah FM radio station which had  been  broadcasting from his son’s house.

Trincomalee District

Police Transfer
ASP of Mutur, Premasiri Nawagamuwa was transferred to Trincomalee Police Station on May 8 2008.  S.P Vaas Gunawardena has been appointed as a replacement.

Batticaloa District

Potential Misuse of State Resources
CMEV has reports of a number of CTB buses parked in front of the TMVP office in Batticaloa town. No one at the location could provide CMEV with an explanation for the presence of the buses at this location.

Suspension of Mobile Telephone Communication  
CMEV is gravely concerned by reports that mobile telecommunication access to and from the east will be suspended from tomorrow, polling day.  Were this to be the case, it would be an arbitrary restriction on the access and right to information of all citizens and of citizens in the east, in particular, on the day of their provincial polls.  Given that political parties and monitors have expressed their fears about the freeness and fairness of the provincial poll, such a restriction, if imposed, would only serve to reinforce these fears and undermine the credibility of the poll.

Accordingly, CMEV calls upon the Election Commissioner to take the speedy action necessary to ensure that such a violation of democratic rights does not take place.

 

                                                                     

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU               MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA               MS. SEETHA RANJANI      

CO – CONVENOR                                                      CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR

 

 

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CMEV Bulletin of 8th May 2008 – 1st Release

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

8th May 2008 – 16.30 – Media Communiqué 1

CMEV has been informed that journalists for the Associated Press were refused entry into Batticaloa town at the Valaichinnai military check point and they were also told that they had to leave the Eastern Province. They were informed that they needed permission from the Ministry of Defence to remain in the Eastern Province.  

CMEV was also informed that the requirement of Ministry of Defence permission to remain in the Eastern Province was confirmed to them by General Palitha Fernando at the Minstry of Defence. Subsequently they were informed that they could remain.

 

CMEV spoke to Gen Fernando who stated that there was no restriction on journalists with Department of Information accreditation entering the Eastern Province and that for reasons relating to their security, restrictions would only apply to foreign tourists and visitors entering the Eastern Province over the next three days.

 

CMEV calls upon the authorities to facilitate the fullest media coverage to accredited journalists to cover the Eastern Provincial Council election and to ensure that this is clearly communicated to authorities in the three districts of the Eastern Province.  We further call upon the Elections Commissioner and his officials to ensure this.

                                                                     

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU               MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA               MS. SEETHA RANJANI      

CO – CONVENOR                                                      CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR

 

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CMEV Bulletin of 7th May 2008 – 1st Release

 

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

7th May 2008 – Media Communiqué 1

 

 

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) will be monitoring the Eastern Provincial Council Election on 10 May 2008.  CMEV is currently constituted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) the Free Media Movement (FMM) and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre. Set up in 1997, CMEV has monitored every election since then.  It observed the elections to local government authorities in the Batticaloa District in April 2008.

CMEV will be deploying 330 stationary monitors within selected polling centres across the Eastern Province and an additional 49 Mobile Teams.

CMEV’s focus on election day as opposed to the entire campaign as well, has been  necessitated by financial constraints.  CMEV will issue reports on Election Day and a consolidated final report.

 

CONTACT INFORMATION
Colombo Office Telephone Numbers Fax Numbers
Ampara District 0115621886 0114714460
Baticaloa District 0112375263 0112375263           
Trincomalee District 0115621904 0112375239
Emergency 0112375012  

 

District Office Telephone Numbers
Ampara 0632223735               
Batticaloa 0602144140  
Trincomalee 0779081956  
     
District Coordinators
Ampara Mr.Lakshman Perera 0773158281
Batticaloa Mr. Satheek 0776623467
Trincomalee Mr Karunaratne 0779690356
     
Field Coordinators
Ampara Mr. Dissanayake 0716809730
Batticaloa Mr. Rasika Perera 0777312079
Trincomalee Mr. Udaya Kalupathirana 0773112628

 

                                                                                              

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU          MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA        MS. SEETHA RANJANI          CO – CONVENOR                                                             CO – CONVENOR                                          CO – CONVENOR

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Launch of CMEV blog

CMEV

This blog will be updated soon with information gathered by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) leading up to and on the day of the elections in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka on 10th May 2008.

In addition to our incident reports, we hope to give live updates on maps and through Twitter, from which you can get them on your mobiles wherever you are in the world.