Moneragala continues to simmer ahead of Uva poll: Monitors

Friday, 29 August 2014 01:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Election observers have flagged concerns again about heightened tensions in the Uva battleground of Moneragala, reporting that an armed group was loitering in the area at night and noting the failure of police to control incidents. The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has noted two points of concern in the Moneragala District: Undue pressure exerted by a small handful of candidates and their unwillingness to recognise the political right of others to campaign. “There are serious criticisms of the campaigning in Monaragala including the introduction of a large numbers of supporters from other areas including Colombo, and the failure of the Police to control incidents that have resulted. On 23 and 24 August alone, firearms were used to threaten rivals and several political party offices were damaged. The majority of those affected are opposition supporters,” the CMEV said yesterday in its first communiqué regarding the Uva election. CMEV said tension was heightened by an armed group loitering in the area at night-time, as alleged by some political parties. “It is also alleged that this group was responsible for the incident where a number of political party offices belonging to the UNP, JVP and DP, were damaged,” the polls monitors noted. Meanwhile another election monitoring group, the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) reported that the number of incidents of election violence had crossed the 100 mark by yesterday, with most of the complaints arising from the Moneragala District. Of 105 incidents reported so far during the Uva provincial polls campaign, 80 incidents had been reported in Moneragala with 15 coming in from the Badulla District. “Such incidents do not augur well for the campaign and for polling day. Police must take necessary action promptly,” the CMEV said in its report. (DB)