The occupying Sri Lanka Army let loose its soldiers in civil cloths on house-to-house attack in many of the villages in Ki’linochchi district in the early hours of Saturday, causing panic and fear among the voters in Vanni and forcing the voters to stay inside their houses.
The armed men in civil, speaking broken Tamil, came in vehicles as early as 3:00 a.m. and attacked the civilians instructing them to stay indoors on the election day. Knowing that it would be difficult to entirely change the mindset of the people of Jaffna, the SLA was ordered to stay inside the barracks in Jaffna. But, the SLA was deployed in Ki’linochchi, threatening both the candidates and voters, with a clear intent to capture the councils by intimidation.
Widespread attacks were reported in the villages of Vaddakkachchi, Maayavanoor, Champukku’lam, Koa’naavil, Paarathipuram and Malaiyaa’lapuram of Ki’linochchi district. Voters and candidates were subjected to indiscriminate attacks causing injuries, reports from Ki’linochchil said.
SLA soldiers, who were on a house-to-house attack pointed guns on the heads of the residents, regardless of their age and sex, and asked why they wanted to vote for the Tamil National Alliance.
Informed sources in Ki’inochchil said that the SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son, Namal Rajapaksa, was in Ki’linochchi monitoring the UPFA campaign and was giving instructions to the SLA.
Namal Rajapaksa, together with former LTTE members in their custody, on the eve of the election failed in their attempt to bribe the TNA candidates and make them withdraw from the elections.
Later, the candidates were threatened.
On Saturday, uniformed SLA soldiers were seen close to various election booths in Ki’linochchi, effectively blocking the voters from entering the booths until noon.
The SLA did not allow the TNA candidates to be present at the booths.
Some voters were given 1,000 to 1,500 rupees at the gates of the booths and turned away by the SLA in Ki’linochchi. The soldiers were said to have torn the ballet papers of those who were bribed.
23,913 voters are registered in Ki’linochchi, according to election officials in Jaffna. Recently, the SL government dropped more than 300,000 voters names from the list saying most of them had fled the country.
According to latest statistics 374,340 voters are eligible to vote in the elections in Jaffna electoral district, which also includes the administrative district of Ki’linochchi.
In Jaffna, the SL Police was instructed to ignore the SL election department’s order to remove the posters in the vicinity of booths.
Occupying Sri Lanka is keen in politically capturing at least the Vanni districts by intimidation, if not Jaffna, political observers said.