Elections monitor issues red alert on polls violence

Tuesday, 17 September 2013 00:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Immediate intervention needed to avert tragedy: CaFFE
  • If cops, political parties don’t act, voters will have to look to gods to ensure free and fair poll says Chief Monitor
As the final days of hectic campaigning kick off for three major provincial elections on Saturday (21), independent elections monitors warn that there will be an upsurge of violence in the next few days in the Central and North Western regions unless immediate steps are taken to uphold election regulations. The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) said there had been a spike in violence in the Central and Northwestern Provinces in recent days and it has been confirmed that vehicles without number plates have been involved in most of these incidents. The polls monitors said two major instances of violence were reported last night (15 September) in the Central and Northwestern Provinces. “Supporters of United National Party (UNP) candidate, W.M.P.B. Warawewa were assaulted at Mahaiyawa, Kandy and a vehicle carrying his propaganda material has been damaged. Warawewa’s supporters were putting propaganda material, used during a rally in Mahaiyawa, back into the van when a group arriving in three Defender jeeps attacked them. Those who were assaulted identified one vehicle (PA 7373) and the other two vehicles were running under garage numbers. They have also stated that they will not allow anyone else to campaign in Kandy,” CaFFE said in a media release. The election monitors also said that supporters of the National Unity Alliance (NUA) had been assaulted when they were distributing leaflets on the Kalpitiya Road, Norachcholai around 8 p.m. Mohommad Firoze, NUA’s chief ministerial candidate for the Northwestern Provincial Council, had been admitted to Puttalam Hospital following the attack. “NUA claims that those who lead the attack were United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidate, Riyaz and Kalpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman, Minhaj. Similar to the incident in Kandy, vehicles without number plates were used for the attack,” CaFFE said. The monitors report that UPFA candidate Sanath Nishantha and several parliamentarians in Puttalam are using vehicles without number plates for election campaigning. It is worth noting that no one has been apprehended for the two attacks so far. CaFFE Executive Director Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon said that violence will increase if politicians continue to violate election as well as civil laws of the country. “If the Department of Elections and the Police do not take immediate action to enforce election laws, the voters will have nothing to but appeal to the gods for a free and fair election on 21 September,” Tennakoon added. (DB)