Election monitors blame police for increase of election violence in South

[TamilNet, Monday, 21 September 2009, 02:46 GMT]
Election monitors blame the police of not doing enough to prevent the increasing incidences of pre-poll violence and violation of election laws as the Southern Provincial Council election draws closer. The elections monitoring body- Campaign for Free & Fair Elections (CaFFE) has received reports of 24 pre-poll violations and assaults. The majority of the incidents have been reported from Galle, Hambantota and Matara.

CaFFE spokesperson, Keerthi Tennekone, said the incidents were mainly due to police inaction. “The main political parties are campaigning on a mass scale and the main incidents reported are violations of election laws. Lots of posters and cut-outs have come up in prohibited areas violating election laws. Law enforcement authorities have not taken necessary steps to prevent this situation or even have these illegal cut-outs, posters and banners pulled down,” Mr. Tennekone said.

“The worse affected areas are Galle and Hambantota. There have been a few incidents of election related violence such as attacks on political offices and causing minor hurt that were reported to us. We have also learnt that internal clashes among candidates of the same party are flaring up. If the situation is not brought under control now, it could get worse,” he warned.

Meanwhile, responding to allegations of police inaction, DIG Gamini Navaratne, who is in charge of election security said the situation in the South was under control.

“I am personally co-ordinating all four police divisions that are engaged in election duty. The situation is under control except for a few isolated incidents. We have arrested 15 people who were involved in violating election laws and pre-poll violence. The majority of the complaints are that of mischief and minor hurt,” he told media.

 

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