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Attack in Hambantota: Basic Political Rights Violated – CaFFE

[ Jayathilaka Bandara assaulted for second time]

CaFFE Election Report  41-

Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) is highly concerned about the violation of political right during the run-up to January 8 elections and claims that the election is neither free nor fair due to this.

Noting that a number of opposition activists, including street drama troupe, ‘Weediye Virodaya’ were attacked today at Hambantota by a goons led by Hambantota Mayor Eraj Ravindra Fernando, CaFFE states that police took no action to protect the victims.

“Leader of Weediye Virodaya Jayathilaka Bandara had asked local opposition supporters to meet them at the bus stand fearing that they will be attacked. However despite the presence of opposition politicians, including the leader of opposition at Hambantota MC Auyb Khan, they were assaulted. We have received reports that

Fernando was armed and that he tried to kidnap Bandara. Although they could not kidnap him many were assaulted and six had to get medical assistance at the hospital. However many didn’t even want to go to the hospital fearing further attacks,” Executive Director of CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said.

He added that “elections are only a part of political rights and currently the right of holding an opinion, the right to expression, the right to campaign peacefully and the right to free movement of opposition activists are being constantly violated. These street performers has protested many regimes but it was the first time in recent history that they were assaulted like this”.

CaFFE has noted that “political rights of opposition activists are continuously being violated and thus the election is not teaching the international standards.  The Commissioner of Elections said that he will resign if there are election malpractices on Election Day but we would like to remind him that the Election Day is usually eventless. What needs to happen usually happens before the day of the polls,” Tennakoon said.

The troupe was also assaulted at Eppawala on December 05. The members of the troupe claim that the attack was carried out by supporters of SM Ranjith Samarakoon, Chief Minister of North-Central Province.

The Hambantota Mayor gained notoriety earlier this year when he chased away UNP MPs who were conducting an inspection tour to Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port brandishing a firearm. Later he said that it was a toy gun.

CaFFE Media Unite                                                   Dec. 21st, 2014


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