[pro government thugs are being let loose against Common opposition]
By Nirmala Kannangara -
More election violence and violations are reported from all parts of the country where the ruling UPFA government is accused for all the reported cases say election monitors.
Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Executive Director Keerthi Tennakoon and People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchchi said that it is disheartening to see how the ruling party violates election rules even before nominations are filed.
“Nominations will be filed tomorrow but other than one candidate all others have abided by the election regulation of the country. When the ruling party that talks so much about law and order is violating these rules openly what can we expect from the others? We informed this to the Elections Commissioner and although he has instructed the parties concerned to abide by the regulations, nothing has happened up to now,” Keerthi Tennakoon said.
Meanwhile Tennakoon accused Prof. SJBA Jayasekara, Vice Chancellor of the Wayamba University, for forcing university lectures to take part in an election propaganda meeting that was held on December one at Temple Trees.
“It was shocking to learn that an employee, appointed by Prof. Jayasekera, wanted all lecturers to confirm their participation at the meeting. Those who did not take part have been asked to submit an explanation. Even Samurdhi beneficiaries, who are among the most underprivileged segments in the country, were not pressurised in this manner to attend meetings,” Tennakoon said.
According to Tennakoon, he has brought this to the notice of University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairperson Prof Kshanika Hirimburegama on November 28.
“I informed this to the Elections Commissioner and he has written to Prof Hirimburegama on November 29 asking Hirimburegama to inform him whether such a meeting was organised when it was organised whether before or after the election was declared and whether Prof Hirimburegama was unaware that this was a hindrance to a free and fair election,” said Tennakoon.
In another letter to Prof Jayasekara, the EC on November 30 (Ref No: PRE/2015/19/ALLD 4) has stated that his behaviour is adversely affecting a free and fair election and for him to inform the EC whether he attempted to influence lecturers to attend the meeting.
“However neither Hirimburegama nor Jayasekara have responded to the commissioner. CaFFE is deeply dismayed about this lack of concern displayed by two heads of prestigious institutes of higher education. We believe that he should have responded immediately to the Commissioner of Elections, as the chief election official in the country and we urge all government servants, elected representatives and political parties to respect his directives,” Tennakoon said.
When contacted Prof Hirimburegama, refuted the allegations levelled against Prof Jayasekera.
“He is one of the few most honourable and unbiased professors working for us. When I asked him about this allegation he said he took name and identity card numbers of those who wished to take part in this annual progress meeting. Since there were about 8,000 participants we had no other place to accommodate them but decided to hold it at Temple Trees. The President was the Chief Guest and the meeting lasted for about two hours and the issues faced by the universities were discussed,” Prof. Hirimburegama said.
According to her, non academics participated at this meeting. Prof Jayasekera is a mild academic who will not raise his voice to any one and we should hail him for developing the Wayamba University to what it is now,” Prof. Hirimburegama added.
However, Senior Lecturer and President Federation of University Teacher’s Association (FUTA) Dr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara said that the government remembers the University Teachers only during election times.
“Even in 2010 a similar progress meeting was held at Temple Trees but there after they forgot us. Now again they met the university teachers. Those who took part at this meeting said how the progress meeting took place with election related speeches and films have been shown how bombs exploded and how the war was won,” said Dr. Thenuwara.
Meanwhile the election monitors accused Colombo Mayor A.J.M. Muzamil. Election Commissioner has written to Mayor A. J. M. Muzammil, on November 30 (Ref No: PRE/2015/19/COL2) asking him to provide information about the display of over 1800 illegal election cut-outs in Colombo city limits. In his letter, the Commissioner has requested the Mayor to update him under what leasing conditions that these cut-outs have been allowed to be displayed and if the CMC has charged any fee from these cut-outs.
He has also asked Muzammil to remove all the election cut-outs immediately if they are displayed without any fee and to take action against officials who permitted the cut outs in the city limits.
“CaFFE is deeply dismayed about this lack of concern displayed by the Mayor, who is a working committee member of the UNP. The UNP who speaks greatly of transparency and good governance should act in a more proactive way to curb election law violation and rule of law,” said Tennakoon. Meanwhile Executive Director, PAFFREL Rohana Hettiarachchi said that more election violence has been reported from Puttalama. “Wennappuwa UPFA local councilor Shiron Fernando who crossed-over to support common opposition candidate, was assaulted on December one at his residence at Bolewatte, Wennappuwa . Fernando has lodged a complaint at Wennappuwa police and the suspect has been identified but the police are yet to arrest the suspect. It was a senior minister’s supporter who has assaulted Fernando as he went to Polonnaruwa in support of the common candidate’s inaugural election meeting,” said Hettiarachchi.
Meanwhile Coordinating Secretary of the Chief Minister of the North Central Province and some goons has attacked Anuradhapura District UNP local government member Namal Diyalagoda and his supporters while they were decorating a stage to welcome the UNP Leader on Nevember 29. One person from Tahmbuththegama has received injuries and was admitted to Anuradhapura hospital. This group has also destroyed cut outs and banners which was at the UNP office in Anuradhapura.
“Although Namal Diyalagoda has lodged a complaint at the Tambuththegama police furnishing details of the group who assaulted them and destroyed UNP banners and cut outs, the police are yet to arrest the suspects,” Hettiarachchi said.
SLTB buses are used to transport people to election meetings
Ceylon Transport Workers Union
Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) deports in the country are compelled to release buses free of charge to transport people from the respective areas to meetings says JVP affiliated Ceylon Transport Workers Union.
The sources who did not wish to reveal his name said when inquired as to why buses are taken without making any payment, the deport managers say that these buses are released for government work but not for election work.
He however said that in the next few days, the people could see how SLTB buses are used to transport people for election meetings and added that the reason for SLTB to incur losses is due to hiring buses for election work free of charge.
“Even during UNP governments they have taken few buses for their election work but not the way the UPFA is using SLTB buses for their election work. Although the deport managers say that payments would be made, never have they made any payment to the SLTB. Although we have informed this to the Elections Commissioner on previous occasions nothing has been done to prevent it,” he added.
Courtesy The Sunday Leader