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Friday, February 23, 2024

Election Violence: CMEV Communique 8

Presidential Election 2015: Media Communique 8 /by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV).

29th December, Attack on ‘Yowun Parapura’ street concert in Gokarella, Kurunegala District

CMEV received information of an attack at Kumbukgete junction in the Gokarella area where a street concert was taking place with an audience of about 150 people. Youth artistes such as Samanalee Fonseka, Jagath Manuwarna, Indrachapa Liyanage, Lakshman Wijesekara and Udaya Dharmawardhana were performing when the attack took place (at about 12 30 p.m.). A group of people headed by UPFA Provincial Councilor Don Kamal Indika were distributing leaflets. Subsequently this group, who were in blue ‘Nil balakaya’ T shirts had started hooting and yelling abuse and throwing rocks at the performers. Two police officers were there at the time, but had done nothing to stop the attack. Samanalee Fonseka and Udaya Dharmawardhana had been stoned while Lakshman Wijesekara had been kicked. No complaint has been filed with the police due to fear of reprisals.

When CMEV spoke to Officer in Charge Dias at the Gokarella police station, he said that they had only been informed of a verbal dispute between the two sides. He further said that two police officers who were regulating traffic at Ibbagamuwa had been sent there and that no complaints were received.

29th December, Mahiyangana, Midahangala junction, Badulla District

It was reported to CMEV that an authorized United National Party (UNP) office at the above location maintained by Provincial Councilor M Surasena had been attacked yesterday (28th) around 10.00 pm. According to him, an unidentified group (about 15 people) had arrived in a red Defender, White Trooper jeep and a Navara cab. Four armed persons had fired shots towards the sky and had attacked six people who had been at the office at the time. One disabled soldier and two boys aged 13 and 15 respectively had also been there.

According to Mr Surasena, five individuals have been injured with one person in a serious condition. Property damage in the above attack includes damages to personal property (a Toyota car (CP/GM/0482), Nissan van (251-1500) and a motorcycle (UP/BAO/1477) the total cost of which is yet to be estimate. Furthermore he suspects the culprits to be supporters of United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) organizer Mahiyangana Anura Vidanagamage and Badulla District MP Thenuka Widanagamage.

CMEV was unable to reach Mr Vidanagamage via phone to get a statement.

Mr Surasena had gone to hospitalize the victims leaving Lieutenant Chandrasena (Surasena’s brother) and the disabled soldier behind. The culprits returned and attacked them. The disabled soldier’s prosthetic leg was stolen and he was subsequently hospitalized and awaiting procedures.

After Mr Surasena made a complaint at the Mahaiyangana Police station, police surveillance had been deployed to his residence and police investigations have begun.

The Mahiyangana Police Station, when approached by CMEV confirmed that they received an emergency call ( on 119/118) regarding this incident around 10.45pm yesterday (28th) and that they sent a group of police officers to the above location around 11.00pm. Currently police investigations are underway. The police have arrested two suspects who are appearing at Mahiyangana Magistrate court on 29th evening.

Mahaiyanaga Base hospital said that three victims were admitted to ward 08 last night (28th) and some were admitted in the morning. Director of Mahiyangana Base Hospital said that four persons are under medical treatment and one is in serious condition.

When approached by CMEV, United National Party organizer Mahiyangana Upali Senarathne, who is still at the location, says that he suspects this attack was by Anura Vidanagamage.
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV)


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