Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:01
Polls monitors report 21 Opposition party offices have been attacked in 72 hours ending Tuesday morning
The Uva polls battle has heated up in the UPFA stronghold of Moneragala, with election monitors reporting the widespread use of firearms and the destruction of 21 Opposition party offices in the district over the 72-hour period that ended at 6 a.m. yesterday.
Three JVP election offices had been attacked overnight in different areas of the district, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections Executive Director Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon said. “The offices were set fire to and attacked using firearms,” the CaFFE Executive Director added.
CaFFE also reported that an armed group arriving in several jeeps had attacked a group of JVP supporters in the Badalkumbura area as they were constructing a platform for an election rally at which Party Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake was scheduled to speak.
The JVP claims that the Badalkumbura Pradeshiya Sabha Deputy Chairman had been part of the group that threatened its supporters. The armed group had wanted the JVP rally cancelled and even knocked out the electricity in the area at about 11:30 on Monday (25) night CaFFE reported. Two UPFA supporters had also been injured in the counter attacks by JVP members, Tennakoon said.
The polls monitors said a second attack had occurred in the same area a few hours later, when the group had returned in four Defender jeeps at about 1 a.m. and shot at the JVP supporters making preparations for the rally. “Following the attack, the JVP members left the area,” Tennakoon noted.
Most of the election offices targeted over the past 72 hours had been UNP offices situated in the Bibile area, CaFFE reported.
“For about six hours on 24 August, violent groups had attacked all the major Opposition parties in the Bibile area, but so far not a single arrest has been made,” the CaFFE Chief said. Tennakoon said the Police had been similarly inactive in the Badalkumbura area where the JVP supporters had come under fire.
The Moneragala District in the Uva Province is a ruling party stronghold and is expected to be hotly contested in the 20 September provincial election battle. (DB)