The Sunday Leader

Violence And Violations

By Nirmala Kannangara

Although major violent incidents were not reported during the post election period, the pre election campaign was marred with violence and violation of election laws. The then ruling party violated election regulations to the maximum without considering Elections Commissioner’s repeated request not to violate the election laws. All attempts taken by the Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya to address these issues with election monitors fell into deaf ears. Police too were accused of not taking action against the supporters of the then ruling party engaged in thuggery, intimidation and violence.

Meanwhile Pelmadulla Magistrate Court issued an arrest warrant on Deputy Minister of Power and Energy Premalal Jayasekara, Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councilor, Nilantha Jayakody and Kahawatte PS Member Vajira Dharshana Silva for shooting at a crowed at Kahawatte which killed one person and injuring two others who were decorating a stage of the opposition candidate.

The Chairman of the Kahawatte Traders Association is the UNP supporter who died at this shooting and the assailants have arrived in eight vehicles and were armed with T 56 weapons.

“Shantha Dodangoda, Karunadasa Weerasinghe and a 17 year old Muslim boy were amongst 300 to 400 party supporters who were decorating the stage and the road at around 2am on January 5. The Deputy Minister and the stooges have arrived in eight vehicles and have scolded the crowd for supporting the common candidate. Later they have fired towards the crowd and few of them have got injured and were admitted to the Ratnapura hospital where Dodangoda succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday January 7,” Ratnapura district UNP MP Thalatha Athukorale said.

One of the suspects, Deputy Minister Premalala Jayasekera alias Choka Malli is said to be involved in many thuggery in the area and because of his affiliation to the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA), the police are not taking any action against him, a UNP Sabaragamuwa Pradeshiya Sabha member said on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Thalatha Athukorala accused the Nivithigala Police for not arresting the suspects despite the court order and added that the police have said the suspects were absconding.

“How can the police say that the Deputy Minister was absconding when he was with the former President at Kataragama the day before the presidential election? The police would have arrested any other suspect from any other party for committing such a crime,” Athukorala said.

Meanwhile human right activists Brito Fernando, Phillip Dissanayake and Prasanga Fernando who worked for disappeared have received telephone calls from unknown people for taking a stand  against human rights violations in the country.

Meanwhile, an unknown group has kept severed heads of dogs at the doorsteps of Brito Fernando and Prasanga Fernando sending death threats to the two.

“It is deplorable as some unidentified groups have send death threats against these human right activists who have been peacefully defending human rights in the country. The authorities concerned should take prompt action to find out who is responsible to these threats,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

According to election monitors, these threats have come in the backdrop of a violent election campaign, in which opposition activists have overwhelmingly borne the brunt of attacks. The government must ensure that people can engage in election work of their choice without fear. “Sadly, attacks on human rights defenders are commonplace in Sri Lanka, many of those brave enough to work on addressing unresolved abuses live with constant threats hanging over them. It’s worrying that the electoral violence has seemed to give a licence to escalate such attacks.”

Meanwhile Bandarawela Magistrate has issued a warrant to arrest Uva Provincial Council Minister Senthil Thondaman  for an alleged assault to a postman at Ella on January 3,who was distributing polling cards two weeks before. The police once again showed how incompetent they are as the Provincial Minister was not arrested and was allowed to walk freely.

“Thondaman was allowed to walk freely and even engage in political meetings in support of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. This shows clearly that the police are biased and do not take any action to arrest or even to question a politician in the UPFA. The police are in deep slumber when the UPFA members are violating all norms of rules and regulations but are very efficient to take action against the opposition members or supporters,” a member of the Uva Provincial Council said.

Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera is accused of distributing books and sil cloth to people in Kaduwela on Sunday January 4 in order to promote President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidacy. Although the people of the area has informed the Police about the distribution which is against the election rules, the police have once again failed to take any action to stop the Thera from distributing the books and sil cloths. According to the residents, it was only after this was brought to the notice of the Elections Commissioner the police have asked Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera to leave the town immediately.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) employees are to write to the newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena to recover the money the previous regime owes to SLTB for transporting  people in SLTB buses for election campaign meetings.

According to trade union members, the SLTB is said to be running at a loss and delay paying their salaries due to lack of funds but added that the previous regime has made the institution a revenue loss company by using SLTB resources for election work. “We want the President to look into it and recover the money and give our dues in time,” the union members said.

2 Comments for “Violence And Violations”

  1. Punchinilame

    With talk of RTI coming up, why not the EC reveal the hidden secret in sealed
    envelopes – Declaration of Assets Forms – of the 19 PE Contestants without
    further ado.

  2. vis8

    Oh, for heavens sake, can we focus on the future???? Under “Maithree” palanaya, unwholesome actions like spreading unverified rumors should be not allowed, eh?
    Go get a life!

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