Special Media Release on Transfer of HQI Vavuniya Police Station

Special Media Release on Transfer of HQI Vavuniya Police Station

23rd January 2010

2300Hrs

CMEV learnt that the HQI of the Vavuniya Police Station, Saman Sigera, has been transferred to the welfare division of the Police Head Quarters with immediate effect from 23rd January 2010.

CMEV contacted Saman Sigera on 23rd January at around 05.30 pm who said that he received a fax from the Police Head Quarters, Colombo today at around 11.30 pm instructing him to report to the Welfare Division of the Police Head Quarters with immediate effect. He further stated that no reason has been mentioned for his transfer in the fax.

CMEV contacted the police spokesman SSP I.M.Karunaratne today at around 06.15 pm and he stated that he is not aware about the transfer and he has not been informed anything regarding it by the Inspector General of Police. CMEV contacted the Police Spokesman again at around 07.30 pm and then 10.30 pm he stated that he has yet not received any information regarding the transfer.

CMEV contacted the Department of Election at about 06.30 pm an officer, who did not reveal his name, informed CMEV that all the responsible officers are in a meeting and asked to contact later. CMEV’s attempts to contact the Department of Election failed as no one responded to the telephone thereafter.

CMEV contacted DIG Lalith Jayasinghe at around 10.40 pm who instructed to contact acting DIG-Personal & Records Division, Mr.Fonseka to verify the reason for the transfer order.

At around 11.00 pm CMEV contacted DIG,Fonseka, who confirmed the transfer order and stated that HQI Saman Sigera, was transferred with the approval of the Election Commissioner. He further told CMEV that he was transferred due to the allegations leveled against him.

CMEV also received a telephone call from Paikianathan Ranganathan, UNP Vavuniya District organizer, at around 05.15 pm regarding the incident.

CMEV underscores the commissioner’s notice on 07th December 2009 regarding the appointments, transfers and promotions. According to the section 104B (4) and 104(J) of the 17th Amendment to the constitution the commissioner has the power to suspend the appointments, transfers and promotions. CMEV requests the Election Commissioner to disclose the reason for the approval of the transfer to the public to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Read this press release as a PDF here.

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

Press conference on election monitoring of Presidential Election 2010

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) cordially invites you to attend a press conference on election related violence and pertinent issues related to the Presidential Election 2010.

The press conference will be held on Monday 25th January 2010 at 10.30am in the Mahaweli Centre, 96, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7.

The first interim report of the Presidential Election also will be released at the press conference.

Please contact Nandana on 0757079429 or Dilan on 0713244200 for more information.

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.

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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. 20

Released 21 January 2010, download this report in full as a PDF here.

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Western Province

Alleged Shooting in Gampaha District

According to Western Provincial Councilor Mr. Kithsiri Manchanayake (UNP), at approximately 3.00am this morning, a group of unidentified persons who arrived in 5 or 6 vehicles, attacked the party office as well as home of UNP supporter Mr. Premadasa, located at Kalumada, Divulapitiya. According to Coordinating Secretary to Mr. Manchanayake Mr. Anura Jayantha, the attackers fired several shots in the air, at which point Mr. Premadasa’s family had fled their home. The attackers had then damaged the doors, windows, furniture and electrical goods in Mr. Premadasa’s house, and fled the location.

Divulapitiya Police OIC Mahinda Udugama told CMEV that the Police had visited the location and that damage had been caused to the house and furniture. He added that the party office was unlawful. When questioned regarding whether shots were fired, OIC Udugama told CMEV that they had received information that shots were fired, but that they found no bullet casings at the location. When questioned regarding the identities of the attackers, OIC Udugama stated that he felt that the complainants may be withholding information regarding the identities of the attackers out of fear. OIC Udugama refused to provide CMEV with the complaint number and also refused to confirm if the incident was lodged in the Elections Information Book or in the Crimes Information Book.

When contacted, Mr. Premadasa told CMEV that between 10.30pm and 11.00pm, a group of persons who arrived in vehicles had torn up cut outs and decorations of the party office. Mr. Premadasa had then gone to the Divulapitiya Police and lodged a complaint regarding this attack. A Police team including the OIC had arrived at the scene, examined the damages and obtained statements related to the incident.

Subsequently, between 11.00pm and 12.00 midnight, approximately 6 persons had arrived at Mr. Premadasa’s house and threatened him, stating that they would kill Mr Premadasa and his family if they vote for General Fonseka. Mr. Premadasa had recognized one of the attackers as Mr. M. Siripala, the President of the UPFA Kalumada Sub Office. No complaint was made to the Police regarding this threat.

According to Mr. Premadasa, between 1.00am and 1.30am approximately 10 to 12 persons had arrived at his house in 5 to 6 vehicles, fired several shots in the air, and then fired 4 shots at the door of his house. Mr. Premadasa and his family were hiding at the time but had seen the incident take place. The attackers then proceeded to destroy furniture and electrical goods as initially reported.

While no bullet casings were found on the location, the CMEV monitor has confirmed, that there were clear indications of bullet holes on the walls and door of the house, despite the statement made by the OCI of the Divulapitiya Police that there was no evidence of a shooting.

Eastern Province

A series of Threats and Intimidation in Trincomalee

According to UNP Organizer for Trincomalee Mr. Sundaram Sivaplan, he and his associates had received a series of threats from UPFA (Karuna) supporters on the 18th, 19th and 20th of January.

On the 18th of January at approximately 4.00pm Mr. Sivakumaran and Mr. Paneerchelvam were pasting NDF posters at Kappatturai in the vicinity of the Hindu Kovil, when 3 unidentified persons who arrived at the scene carrying weapons, had pointed a gun at Mr. Sivakumaran’s forehead and chest, and threatened that he should not work for NDF. The attackers had also given Mr. Sivakumaran approximately 150 posters of the incumbent President and asked him to paste those instead.

On the 19th of January, at approximately 10.00am, a group of 7 unidentified persons had come to Mr. Sivapalan’s house located at Inner Harbour Road, and asked in Sinhalese who Sundaram Sivapalan was. Mr. Sivapalan had said he did not know who Sundaram Sivapalan was, at which point the unidentified persons left the location.

Later that evening, at 7.00pm, 2 unidentified persons had arrived at Mr. Sivapalan’s house, and taken photographs of the house. Mr. Sivapalan added that unidentified persons had arrived at his house looking for him and taken pictures of the house on previous occasions as well, but he could not remember details of date and time.

Mr. Sivapalan and Mr. Paneerchelvam told CMEV that they have not lodged Police complaints regarding the above incidents, as their homes and offices are all located down the same road, and they fear for their safety.

Unexploded Grenade found near UPFA bus in Trincomalee.

According to Eastern Provincial Councilor and UPFA Organizer Ms. Ariyawathi Galappaththi, at 7.00am on the 19th of January at Nachchikudah, China Bay, an unexploded grenade was found on the ground near 1 of 4 busses that were brought for the purpose of transporting UPFA supporters to the President’s rally that was due to take place in Kanthalai. The buses were brought there on the night of the 18th, and remained parked there till the following morning.

According to Ms. Galappaththi, the conductor of the bus had informed her of the grenade, at which point she called 119, and the grenade was removed from the location by the China Bay Police.

According to PC L.L.S. Wickramathunge of the China Bay Police, a complaint has been lodged regarding this incident, bearing the number EIB 34/25. He did not furnish any further information regarding the incident.

North Central Province

Arson in Anuradhapura

According to UPFA supporter Mr. M.P. Sisira Kumara Jayasundara, at approximately 2.00am this morning, he had seen his book shop and communication centre on fire, when he looked outside upon hearing a loud explosion. Mr. Jayasundara also maintains a UPFA party office in the building adjoining the two buildings, which were burnt. As they stepped out of the house in order to investigate the situation, they had heard a vehicle leaving the location, but did not see it. Subsequently, Mr. Jayasundara told CMEV that an eye witness to the incident has been found, and that he states that a petrol bomb was lobbed at the building, resulting in the fire.

Mr. Jayasundara stated that he believes the attack to be politically motivated, adding that he suspects the attackers to be JVP supporters. He told CMEV that he had stated that he suspects the JVP during the lodging of his complaint (GCR 2/2010) to the Mihinithale Police. However, when contacted the Mihinthale Police told CMEV that the complainant did not state who they suspect of the attack, and that the Police could not therefore consider it politically motivated. The Officer refused to provide his name, and also added that there was no damage at all to the party office located in the adjoining building.

However, according to the CMEV monitor, the party office has suffered minor damages, and a board stating “results of Fonseka’s good governing” is presently at the location of the arson. This board had not however been at the location in the morning.

Mr. Jayasundara told CMEV that he had recently changed from the UNP to the UPFA and that he had also been assaulted by 5 JVP supporters (Three-wheel Sarath, Bandara, Anura Bandara, Balasuriya and Damith) on the 5th of January (complaint number at Mihinthale Police EIB 3/2010) subsequent to the change.

When contacted, Mr. Prasanna Sudesh of the JVP Main Office in Anuradhapura told CMEV that they had heard of the incident, that they were not involved, but that the Police currently suspects their supporter Three-wheel Sarath of the attack. He added that Three-wheel Sarath was in Thambuththegama at the time of the incident.

Uva Province

Arson in Monaragala

According to UNP supporter Ms. Manel Jayasekera, at 1.00am this morning, her shop was burned by unknown persons. Ms. Jayasekera added that on the 20th January at approximately 10.00am, Samurdhi Officer for Buththala Medagama Ms. Indrani, Mr. Chandana, Mr. Sena and Mr. Jayantha had arrived at her shop, and attempted to paste a poster of President Rajapakse. Ms. Jayasekera had asked them not to, at which point Ms. Indrani and associates had scolded Ms. Jayasekera and left the location. Ms. Jayasekera therefore suspects that Ms. Indrani and associates may be responsible for the arson. The shop had been destroyed in the fire.

According to Buththala Police SI Dharmapala, a complaint has been lodged in this regard, bearing the number CIB 2/126/227. When questioned as to why the incident was lodged as a CIB as opposed to an EIB, SI Dharmadasa told CMEV that investigations are currently underway, and that they could not determine which book it belongs in until such investigation is complete.

CMEV attempted to get in touch with Ms. Indrani in order to obtain a statement, but was unable to do so. Upon being contacted, the Coordinator of the Buththala UPFA party office Mr. R.M. Sunil told CMEV that he had heard of the incident of arson and that their supporters had gone canvassing the previous morning, but denied that they were in any way involved in the arson.

Update to Murder in Matale

On the 19th of January, CMEV reported a Murder from the Matale District, in which the body of NDF supporter Mr. Lingeswaran of Warapitiya was found by the Kandy – Matale railroad in the Deiyanwila area.

According to the Kandy Railway Station Officials, Mr. Lingeswaran’s body was found on the night of the 15th of January at approximately 9.15pm, at an approximate distance of 100metres from the end of the platform, in a train yard area around which trains travel at low speed. The body was facing upwards, stuck beneath railway communication signal cables, with heavy bleeding from the back of the head, just above the neck, and pools of blood beneath his buttock and leg areas. The Officials added that based on their previous experience of witnessing train related accidents over the last 25 years, based on the position and details of the how the body was found, it did not seem plausible that Mr. Lingeswaran was either struck by or fell off a train. They added that they had also not received any reports of an accident that night, which was not the norm. They stated that if an accident had occurred, the injured person or corpse is transported by the same train to the nearest station, and handed over via a report from a guard or the engine driver according to procedure. According to the Officials, the location that the body was found at cannot be reached by vehicle, but they added that if someone carried a body from the roadside, they could dump the body and return to the roadside in under 5 minutes. The Officials added that Mr. Lingeswaran held what appeared to be an election related leaflet in his hand, though they were unable to provide details.

The autopsy was concluded on the 20th morning by the Kandy JMO Dr. Senevirathne, who initially told CMEV on the 20th afternoon that Mr. Lingeswaran had died as a result of being hit by a train. When a CMEV monitor visited the JMO’s office on the 21st in order to obtain further information, the JMO told him that the report will be submitted to courts and refused to provide any further information. The Chief Clerk at the JMO office told CMEV that as previously stated, the conclusion is that it was an accidental death.

When contacted based on a fax received from Leader of the Opposition Municipal Council Matale Mr. Daljith Aluvihare, UNP supporter Mr. A. Somasundaram and Matale Pradeshiya Sabha member Mr. Senaka Aluvihare told CMEV that they recalled seeing Mr. Lingeswaran between 8.30pm and 9.00pm on the 15th of January at the Matale Godapola bus stand, where which is where General Fonseka’s rally was held.

Mr. Seneka Aluvihare told CMEV that General Fonseka arrived at 8.00pm, and at approximately 8.30pm Mr. Lingeswaran spoke to Mr. Aluvihare, informing him that he’ll be stepping “outside” for a bit. He had seen Mr. Lingeswaran walking away from the bus stand, into a large crowd of people. He added that Deiyanvila (where the body was located) was 28km from the rally location, and can be reached within ½ an hour.

When contacted, the Inspector of the Matale Depot Mr. Kulathilaka told CMEV that 60 busses worked on the route on the 15th of January and that public transport was not halted on the 15th as was stated in the fax by Mr. Daljith Aluvihare. He also confirmed that Deiyanvila could be reached in approximately ½ an hour if a vehicle departed from the vicinity of the Godapola bus stand.

While the Duty Officer of the Kandy Police Crime Branch initially told CMEV on the 19th of January that Mr. Lingeswaran’s body was found on the 18th, CMEV has now learned from the Kandy Railway Station Official who was on duty on the night of the 15th, that the body was discovered on the night of the 15th of January at approximately 9.15pm, at an approximate distance of 100metres from the end of the platform, in a train yard area, around which trains travel at low speed. The date and time of discovery of the body was subsequently confirmed at 15th January at approximately 9.15pm, by a duty officer of the Kandy Police Crimes Branch.

Pending further clarification CMEV will continue to record this as an election related Murder.

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. 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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Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 14

17 January 2010, Colombo, Sri Lanka: As of 14th January 2010, CMEV has confirmed a cumulative total of 609 incidents of election related violence of which 271 incidents have been categorized as Major. Of these, 2 incidents of Murder, 5 incidents of Attempted Murders, 73 incidents are of Assault, 77 are of Threat and Intimidation, 27 of Grievous Hurt, 30 incidents of Hurt, 35 cases of the Misuse of State Resources and 11 incidents of Robbery and Arson respectively. The total number of incidents involving the use of firearms is 88. In addition, 338 incidents have been categorized as Minor.

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