CaFFE Election Report # 58
Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) is dismayed by the increasing violence as election day approached and the lukewarm attitude of the Police to curb the violence. There were several incidents of serious cases serious violence on January 4-5 in Aralaganwila and Kahawatte using firearms.
CaFFE has continued to warn that the inaction of the Police would lead to an increase in election related violence and as predicted we see a number of politicians using firearms to intimidate political opponents.
If relevant authorities need to hold a free and fair election Police need to take impartial action against all perpetrators of election law violations.
Shots fired at Kahawatte Election stage of Common Opposition Candidate
Shots fired at Kahawatte Election stage of Common Opposition Candidate, where the last rally of Sirisena in Ratnapura district will be held, at around 2am today (05). The stage was being built at Kahawatte Public Ground and over 200 people including UNP MP Thalatha Atukorale were present when the incident occurred.
Assailants have arrived in eight vehicles and they were led by a UPFA MP known for violence in Ratnapura. After they started attacking the stage UNP supporters retaliated and it was at this point that UPFA MP’s group started firing at the crowd with a T 56 weapon.
Three UNP supporters were wounded and one person, who got shot in the abdomen is in critical condition. All are being treated at Ratnapura Hospital. Meanwhile two vehicles used by the assailants have also been damaged by UNP supporters.
After the incident supporters of Common Opposition Candidate blocked Kahawatte road and burnt down a number of election offices of UPFA MP Premalal Jayasekara aka Choka Malli were destroyed. The roads were closed for over four hours because of the incident.
police have not taken any action until two hours of the initial incident. They only reacted when the UNP supporters started attacking Jayasekara’s offices.
Election officers in Trincomalee attacked
A group of officers attached to Trincomalee Election Department Office were assaulted when they tried to stop the illegal use of giant digital screens for election propaganda. The assault was led by a coordinating officer of a Trincomalee District MP. One election officer was hit on the head with a chair and he has been hospitalized ude to neck injuries.
In addition a staff officer of UPFA Deputy Minister Susantha Punchinilame has also lodged a complaint against the election officers stating that they tried to steal items from election offices. The Election Officers have gone for the investigation with nine members of the police.
UNP supporter assaulted in Divlapitiya
A UNP supporter, Ranjith Wijesiri of Hunumulla, Thammita was assaulted at 4.30 am on January 4 by a group traveling from a Defender Jeep (no PE 6890). Wijesiri was on his way home on a motor cycle from Dunagaha UNP office. Among the assailants are Divlapitiya PS Chairman Indika Anuruddha. The victim is being treated at Gampaha hospital.
PM coordinating secretary’s house attacked
The residence of Prime Ministerial Coordinating secretary, PB Nugaliyedda, who joined the common opposition candidate, was attacked around 11.30 pm on January 3. The assailants arrived in a van and Nugaliyedda’s vehicle was also damaged. Tow persons in the house were wounded.
NDF supporter attacked
Residence of Wasantha Sisira Kumara, next to the Common Opposition Candidate’s election office in Galenbindunuwewa, Kekirawa was attacked around 1 am on January 3. The assailants arrived in a white coloured cab.
Journalist intimidated at a Common Opposition Rally in Kolonnawa
A Sirasa U-reporter who tried to document an attempt by a group traveling in a Black coloured jeep to disrupt a rally by the Common Opposition in Kolonnawa was threatened. His camera was taken and footage was erased.
Ratnapura common opposition supporter attacked
Two NDF supporters, returning home after a pocket meeting in Ayagama, Ketepola to support the Common Opposition Candidate, was assaulted on January 3. The three wheeler in which they were traveling in was stopped at Ketepola by Ayagama PS Member Neveille who assaulted the two men with a pistol. The three wheeler was also damaged.
Civil society activists intimidated
The Decapitated head of a dog was placed opposite the residence of well known civil society activist, Brito Fernnado today morning. The same occured at the house of Prasanga, an associate of Fernando. CaFFE considers this as a direct message to civil society activists who are engaged in dissenting politics.
-CaFFE Media Unit