Media Conference on election-related violence – Eastern Provincial Council Election, May 2008

A MEDIA CONFERENCE TO PRESENT FINAL REPORT ON ELECTION-RELATED VIOLENCE, EASTERN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL ELECTION – 2008 WILL BE HELD AT 3.30 PM TODAY (12TH INSTANT) AT LIBRARY SERVICES AUDITORIUM, INDEPENDENCE AVENUE, COLOMBO 7.

PLEASE BE KIND ENOUGH TO SEND A RESPRESENTATIVE OF YOUR MEDIA ORGANISATION.

 

DR.PAIKIASOTHY SARAVANAMUTTU

MR. UDAYA KALUPATHIRANA

MS. SEETHA RANJANI

CMEV Bulletin of 10th May 2008 – 3rd Release

 

Media Communiqué on Election-related Violence

Eastern Provincial Council Election – 2008

10th May 2008 – 2030 hrs – Media Communiqué 3


CMEV has recorded 64 incidents of violence as at 6 pm today, 10 May.  Of these, 48 have been classified as Major Offences and 16 as Minor. The majority of the Major Offences – 28 -were committed in the Batticaloa District followed by Ampara (12) and Trincomalee (08). 

 

Of the Major Offences, systematic impersonation was the most widespread with a particular concentration in the Batticaloa District where 15 of the 22 such incidents occurred.

 

Areas of serious concern in respect of violence and malpractice in the province are Valaichchenai and Kathankudy in the Batticaloa District, the Pottuvil Polling Division in the Ampara District and Thiriyai in the Trincomalee District.

 

CMEV calls upon the Election Commissioner to order a re-poll in these areas.

 

 

AMPARA DISTRICT

 

VOTER IMPERSONATION AND ELECTION MALPRACTICE IN ALAYADIVEMBU AND THIRUKKOVIL IN THE POTTUVIL POLLING DIVISION

CMEV monitors observed a number of incidents of electoral malpractices and of voter impersonation in particular, in thirteen (13) Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division  Monitors observed children who looked as young as 13-15 years of age casting votes. They also observed that there was no proper procedure for the identification of voters, no designated officer to check the Identity Cards of voters and that only TMVP Polling Agents were present in these Polling Stations.

 

The Polling Stations in the Pottuvil Polling Division are :

 

42  Koraikalapu Shakthi Vidyalaya, Vinayagapuram

48 AK/Kalliyanthivu Wadivel Vidyalaya, Kalliyanthivu

49 World Vission Pre School, Thirukkovil 4

50 AK/Kanchirankuda Govt. Tamil Mixed School, Thirukkovil 4

51 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 01)

52 AK/Thambiluvil Central College, Thambiluvil

53 AK/Thambiluvil Kalaimagal Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil (Hall No. 02)

54 AK/Thambiluvil Saraswathy Vidyalaya, Thambiluvil

70 AK/Alayadivembu Thirunavukarasu Vidyalaya, Alayadivembu

71 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.01

72 AK/Akkaraipattu Sri Ramakrishna Central College, Akkaraipattu Hall No.02

73 AK/Akkaraipattu Ramakrishna Mission School, Akkaraipattu

74 AK/Akkaraipattu As-Sipaya Vidyalaya, Jamath Alim Nagar

 

ASSAULT AND SNATCHING OF ID CARDS FROM VOTERS

UNP supporters claimed that they were assaulted and their national ID Cards snatched in close proximity to Galode Vidyalaya (Polling Station 51) and Miriswatte Vidyalaya (Polling Station 45) this morning. The Padiyathalaawa Police when contacted by CMEV, confirmed that they had received a complaint from the UNP supporters. The Police said they would reinvestigate and have summoned the complainants for this purpose. 

 

INTIMIDATION

 

CMEV monitors reported that at 3.20 pm, a number of vehicles including jeeps and pick-ups were observed moving around Ampara Town. Some of these vehicles did not have license plates and in some of them, there were individuals dressed in civilian clothes carrying arms.
  

 

BATTICALOA DISTRICT

IMPERSONATION IN KATHANKUDY

CMEV was informed of alleged voter impersonation taking place at Polling Station 112 BT Japiathul Arabic Collage, Kattankudy, Batticaloa Polling Division at around noon. Farook Majeed Deputy Chairman, SLMC reported that a group of people standing in front of the Polling Station were distributing false ID cards to voters who were then being sent in to vote. The group continued to stay nearby, even up to midday.

 

Grama Sevaka Mr Mohamed Jaroof complained that he was threatened by UPFA supporters following an attempted impersonation of a voter. The Senior Polling Officer in Polling Station 114 Meera Balika Maha Vidyalaya reportedly called and inquired into the validity of a certified identity card (a replacement for the national ID) from the GS as the details on the card did not tally with the voting list. The GS denied that he had issued the certified National Identity Card. This had reportedly led to the GS being intimidated by UPFA supporters.

 

ASSAULT OF POLLING AGENT

An UNP Polling Agent, M. Siyath, was assaulted allegedly by supporters of M.L.A. Hisbullah outside the Polling Station 110 Hiluriya Vidyalaya, Kattankudy at 10 a.m this morning.

 

INTIMIDATION AT POLLING STATION IN KALKUDA

In Polling Station 24 and 25 BT Murakkoddanchenai Ramakrishna Mission Tamil Mixed School, Kalkuda Polling Division unidentified individuals in civilian clothing were observed obtaining information from Police Officers and making inquiries as to how many people had voted. The Police Officers were observed as having passing on this information. 

 

TRINCOMALEE DISTRICT

 

BALLOT STUFFING IN THIRIYAI

An eye witness, who refuses to be named for reasons of his personal security, informed CMEV monitors of incidents of ballot stuffing in Polling Stations in Thiriyai – namely. Thiriyai  M.V. Hall 2 (B 86), Thiriyai MV Hall 3 (B 87) and Al –Nooriya MV Hall 2 (B 83).  He claims that by 7am this morning people transported in a bus and several vans entered the Polling Stations and stuffed the ballot boxes.  In Polling Station, Thiriyai MV Hall 1 ( B84) the SPO and Police resisted and prevented ballot stuffing.

 

VOTER IMPERSONATION IN TRINCOMALEE

In the Trincomalee Polling Division, as reported to the Trincomalee Police and confirmed by CMEV monitors, unidentified persons, arriving in a Dolphin van 51-4198, an Intercooler 64-9347 and an Indian Jeep bearing the number WP HH 7288, had assaulted UNP MP Sarath Chandra Rajakaruna and his team and forcibly taken their camera. The incident  took place at around 11.30 a.m. When contacted by CMEV, the Trincomalee Police Station stated that they could not confirm this incident.  

 

VOTER IMPERSONATION IN KINNIYA

At 11am, CMEV monitors observed attempted voter impersonation at Polling Station 90 Naduoooththu Government Muslim School, Kinniya. Persons attempting to vote had to be turned away as their NICs did not tally with the Voter list. The area around the Polling Station was noted to be tense.

 

 

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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“Large scale impersonations, intimidation and widespread violence” – Interview with Sunanda Deshpariya (in English and Sinhala)

Interview with Sunanda Deshapriya of the Free Media Movement (FMM) which is part of the CMEV, conducted at around 7.20pm today. Sunanda was in the East heading some of the CMEV monitoring efforts and was still in the field when this interview was conducted. 

Listen to his interview streamed in English here or download as a MP3 file by clicking this link

Listen to his interview streamed in Sinhala here or download as a MP3 file by clicking this link

 

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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