Second election death

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 January 1999, 12:48 GMT]
Gamini Weerasinghe, the brother of a People's Alliance (PA) member of a Puttalam district Pradeshiya Sabah, was killed in a shoot out at Paalavi Junction in Aanamauwa last night. The crime division of the Puttalam Police said that they are investigating the killing.

Police sources said that a pistol had been used in the shooting. They said that no one has so far been arrested.

Meanwhile unidentified gunmen opened fire at the vehicle in which a United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian, Rajitha Senaratne (UNP), was travelling at Bangadeniya in Chilaw last night. One of the passengers was seriously wounded in the incident.

The elections for the North-Western Provincial Council, due on January 25, has been marked by widspread violence.

The killing of Gamini Weerasinghe is the second killing related to the forthcoming elections. Last Saturday a UNP member was shot dead at Kuliyapittya, northwest of Colombo. The UNP has blamed PA members for the killing.

According to police sources over 500 incidents have been reported so far, including two killings, arson and intimidation.

The President recently announced an intention to hold elections to Provincial Council elections in all provinces except the North-eastern province. The elections were scheduled for last August but were then cancelled by the Government citing a shortage of security personnel due to the ongoing 'Operation Jeyasikurui' ( Assured Victory).

The operation was called off late last year and analysts assume that this has eased the security personnel shortage so that adequate 'security cover' can now be provided.

The main opposition party, the UNP, has accused the Government of moving police officers sympathetic to the SLFP ( the main partner in the PA coalition government) into the North-western province prior to the election.


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