Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election April 2010: Media Communique 11

20 April 2010, Sri Lanka, 5pm: Re-polling in 34 polling centers in Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Kandy District and in Kumburupitiya Polling Station (Number 78), Trincomalee Polling Division, Trincomalee District was carried out between 7 am and 4pm today. CMEV monitored the re-polling with 4 mobile teams and 34 stationary monitors in Nawalapitiya and 1 mobile team and 1 stationary monitor in Kumburupitiya.

In both districts CMEV reported nine (09) incidents during the polling period including incidents of attempted impersonation, illegal casting of ballots, verbal abuse of SPOs, transporting of voters and impersonation of monitors.

CMEV notes that there were few incidents of election related violence during this re-poll. This is a significant change from April 8th when a high number of incidents were reported which resulted in the Commissioner of Elections calling for a re-poll. The violence free environment can be attributed to a high presence of police and military around polling stations. CMEV estimates a provisional voter turnout of 65% in Nawalapitiya and 46% in Kumburupitiya, Trincomalee. This demonstrates a lack of interest among voters in the present election.

CMEV reiterates the importance of free and fair elections which reinforce public confidence and ensures the integrity of the poll. CMEV has continuously called for and reiterates its call again for the immediate implementation of the 17th Amendment and the establishment of the Election Commission.

At the close of polls the following incidents were reported to CMEV:

Verbal Abuse of a SPO: CMEV Election Observer reported that Luxman Kirielle, UNP Candidate (No.08) and Ravi Karunanayake (UNP MP elected from Colombo district) had come to the Polling Station No. 05, (Senadhikari National School) at Udahenthanne around 11.40am. When the SPO informed them that Ravi Karunanayake was not entitled to enter the Polling Station, Luxmam Kirielle had verbally abused the SPO and left the polling station.

Illegal Casting of Ballot in Nawalapitiya: CMEV Election Observer reported that a person  with a bogus ballot paper attempted to vote around 1.15pm at Warakawa junior school Polling Station No. 36, in Nawalapitiya Electorate in the Kandy District. This is the second such incident reported from this Polling Station today. The earlier incident took place at around 10.10am.

Attempted Impersonation: CMEV Election Observer reported an attempt at voter impersonation at M.S. Aluthgamage Maha Vidyalaya Polling Station No. 17, in Nawalapitiya Electorate where a voter had come to cast his vote with his National ID card and his father’s Polling Card. When the Electoral Register was examined it was revealed that the name of the person with the NIC was not in the Register. He was handed over to the police by the SPO for attempting voter impersonation.

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election April 2010: Media Communique 10

Re-Poll in Nawalapitya & Trincomalee

20 April 2010, Sri Lanka, 1pm: Re-polling in 34 polling centers in Nawalapitiya Polling Division, Kandy District and in Kumburupitiya Polling Station (Number 78), Trincomalee Polling Division, Trincomalee District commenced at 7 am today. The Election Commissioner decided to re-poll following allegations of serious election malpractices including obstruction of voters and chasing away of polling officers on General Election Day on April 8th 2010. CMEV is monitoring the re-polling with 4 mobile teams and 34 stationary monitors in Nawalapitiya and 1 mobile team and 1 stationary monitor in Kumburupitiya.

As of 13:00 hours CMEV reports four incidents of election violations:

Transport of Voters in Trincomalee: CMEV mobile monitors reported that at around 9.20am, supporters of UPFA candidate Susantha Punchinilame (No 07) were transporting voters from the Salappai area and Gandhinagar in two vehicles bearing registration numbers 31Sri 1756 (a jeep) and WP 5029 (a bus), located near the Kumburupitiya Polling Station (No 78) around 9.10am in the Trincomlaee Electorate.

Transport of Voters in Nawalapitiya: As reported by CMEV around 11.00am, a white van bearing the Registration No. 42-0239 had engaged in transporting voters to Galaha junior school Polling Station No. 30 in Nawalapitiya Electorate. This has happened several times but the police have only warned the perpetrators.

Illegal Casting of Ballot in Nawalapitiya: CMEV monitors reported at around 8.35am, the SPO in the Polling Station No 39 Kadiyallena Junior School in the Nawalapitiya Electorate, was helping disabled voters to cast their vote.  However, he marked the ballot paper himself and puts it into the ballot box without showing it to the voter. Nor was this voting being witnessed by another official as required by law.  A similar practice was reported to have taken place in polling station No. 07, Alugolla junior school (No. 2) in Dolosbage, in Nawalapitiya Electorate.  This was observed at around 11.45am by CMEV monitor.

Impersonating Monitor: As reported by CMEV around 12.05pm, a person in the vicinity of the Dolosbage Junior School Polling Station (No.01) in Dolosbage in the Nawalapitiya Electorate, was wearing the hand band of CMEV and thereby posing as a CMEV Election Observer. The police removed the person from the vicinity of the polling station and returned the hand band to the CMEV Election Observer.

Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka Parliamentary Election 2010: Media Communiqué 10

5 April 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: CMEV has received confirmation of the first election related murder and reports of the further intensification of violence as the campaign draws to a close today, midnight. A tense situation is reported from the Sinhala areas of the Digamadulla District due to the competition between candidates for preference votes.

Tense situation reported in Ampra

CMEV field reports revealed that a tense situation prevails in Ampara and Mahaoya areas due to a UPFA intra party clash between supporters of UPFA candidates Sarath Weerasekara(candidate no 10) and Ferial Ashrof(candidate no 01) on 04th April at around 11.00 am in Ampara town. Saman Morayas, Vice Chairman of the Ampara Urban Council and Wimal Weera Dissanayake, Eastern Province Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs, Lands and Land Development and Transport were also attacked in the incident.

CMEV learnt that protests against Sarath Weerasekara were organized in Mahaoya town and Damana 04th Mile Post at around 12.00 pm today. A protest was also held in Ampara town, yesterday, against him. Reportedly the protests are backed by Wimal Weera Dissanayake.

According to the information from the field, posters which state ‘vote for a Sinhalee beyond party or colour’ in Sinhala have been displayed in Sinhala areas.

In previous reports, CMEV also highlighted a Harthal in the Pottuvil area on 03rd April against UPFA candidate A.L.M.Athaullah.

UPFA supporter shot dead in Kurunegala

CMEV learnt that R.D.Jeewan Prasanna Jayawardhana, a UPFA supporter, was shot dead by an unknown group in Mawathagama at around 11.00 pm yesterday.

CMEV learnt that the deceased was a supporter of UPFA candidate R.D.Wimaladasa(candidate no 06).

When CMEV contacted Wimaladasa’s office, Chandalal Wijesooriya, a driver who witnessed the murder, informed CMEV that while they were returning from Kurunegala to Mawathagama in a double cab (NW PB 3968), an unknown group in a double cab confronted them and opened fire towards their vehicle. According to him, Jeewan was sitting in the back seat of the cab. He further explained that when they reached the Kurunegala Hospital Jeewan had died and that they had informed the Police at the time of the incident.

Wimaldasa suspects that the attack was carried out by UNPers, since he was informed that some UNP supporters had been searching for Kasun, another supporter of his, prior to this attack.

When CMEV contacted the Mawathagama Police Station, a women Police Officer informed CMEV that they had received an anonymous call regarding the incident at around 11.45 pm. She further stated that investigations are being carried out.

Dr.N.D.S.Rajamanthiri of Kurunegala General Hospital confirmed that the person had died when he was brought to the hospital.

DNA supporters assaulted in Wattala

A group of DNA supporters who were pasting posters, were assaulted by a group of supports of UPFA candidate for Gampaha District, Neil Rupasinghe(candidate no 12) in Pattiyawala, Uswetakeiyawa at around 03.00 am on 03rd April.

CMEV Field Monitor visited the residence of M.N.C.Dias, a victim, and recorded a statement from him. According to him, he and M.A.Ranjith Kumara, another DNA supporter, were assaulted and Ranjith managed to escape from the attack. Subsequently he was forcibly pulled into the vehicle and brought to Neil Rupasinghe’s residence located in Hendala,Wattala. He was ordered to kneel down and was assaulted by Neil Rupasinghe’s supporters at his residence as well. He further explained that he was dropped at the point where they snatched him.

He further stated that he saw the UPFA supporters waving to the police officers when they passed the Police check -point located in Wattala Shell Gas Junction. He expressed his disappointment with the Police over their inactivity and stated that he would not complain to the Police in this regard as he lacked trust in them.

When CMEV contacted the Wattala Police Station it was informed that the Muthurajawela Police Post is in charge of deployment at the above named check -point. When CMEV contacted the Muthurajawela Police Post, PC Sanjeewa Kumara informed CMEV that on the particular day they did not deploy any officers to the above post.

When CMEV contacted Neil Rupasinghe in this regard, he categorically denied the allegations.

Intra party clash in Anuradhapura

CMEV learnt that a group of supporters of UPFA candidate Duminda Dissanayake(candidate no 06) was assaulted by a group of supporters of UPFA candidate S.M.Chandrasena(candidate no 11) near Eppawala Epologama Rathgiriyagama Vidyalaya, Kekirawa at around 06 pm on 02nd April.

On 03rd April CMEV contacted Ajith Kumara, Coordinating Secretary to Duminda Dissanayake. He informed CMEV that 08 supporters were injured due to the attack and admitted to the Anurdhapura General Hospital. He alleged that the perpetrators ordered them to kneel down and threatened them with firearms.

When CMEV contacted R.M.R.Somaratne, Coordinating Secretary to S.M.Chandrasena, he denied the allegations and stated that supporters of Duminda Dissanyake assaulted them and that five of them sustained injuries in the attack and were subsequently admitted to the Anuradhapura General Hospital.

CMEV contacted the Kekirawa Police Station. A Police Sergeant told CMEV that they received a 119 call regarding the incident and on the basis of that information further investigations are being carried out

On contacting the Anuradhapura Hospital, CMEV learnt that 10 people who were injured in the attack were admitted to the hospital.