Monitors accuse Local Govt. politicos


Opposition Activists Attacked In Hambanthota

Election Violence

Election monitors have accused local government politicians of being behind some of the most serious incidents of election violence, while police have also confirmed at least 10 Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) members are under arrest and more are being sought for incidents of election violence since the handing over of nominations on December 10.

Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Executive Director, Keerthi Tennakoon yesterday (20) stated that local government politicians are the people who engage in most cases related to election violence.

“It is not a secret that the majority of election violence activities are done by local government politicians and they use state property, human and state resources to carry out such actions.” he said.

When contacted, Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said police had so far arrested 35 persons for engaging in election violence and violating election law. Ten of these were Pradeshiya Sabha members. The chairpersons of four Pradeshiya Sabhas are among those who have been arrested. Among the arrested are the Chairmen of the Mawathagama, Ududumbara and Ibbagamuwa Pradeshiya Sabhas.

Two PS chairmen who were being sought by police for allegedly engaging in acts of election violence were continuing to evade arrest, he confirmed.

Commenting on the number of arrests made by the Police Tennakoon expressed, “When considering the number of people arrested and produced to court, most of the people were released on bail within 6 hours. Therefore, we are not at all happy with the conduct of the Police.” He reiterated the fact that they are not satisfied with the law enforcement of the country especially in the election season.

According to CaFFE there had been 12 incidents reported which are violence related to fire arms. Tennakoon also mentioned that the number of cases related to election violence is very high in the initial stages of the election.

However PAFFERAL, Executive Director, Rohana Hettiarachchi expressed that they are satisfied with the way the Police have acted in relation to election violence cases.

Nevertheless, Hettiarachchi stated, “We have observed that the Police have not yet been able to act immediately once an incident is reported.” he said. Hettiarachchi also explained that there is a need for an independent Police commission if the Police are to perform to their full potential.

He stated that the local government politicians tend to violate election laws solely because of the loyalty for their leaders. “Politicians think that they are above Law and they act thinking they can do anything they want if they wish. This will change if an independent commission is established. ” he said.

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