Batticaloa voters cross defence lines

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 December 1999, 08:59 GMT]
Large number of people turned out for polling from morning in the Muslim areas of the Batticaloa district while polling was steady in the Tamil areas said TamilNet correspondents in the region.

They said many people came to vote from the large hinterlands of the district which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers.

These voters had trekked long distances from the early hours of the morning to reach clustered polling booths in the Sri Lanka Army controlled coastal belt of the Batticaloa district.

Under a special Sri Lankan election law, a large number of polling booths in areas not controlled by the Sri Lanka Army can be clustered at a single polling centre.

This law has come under fire from legal experts and independent election monitors for being the basis for rigging as the clustered centres are, more often than not, beyond the reach of voters living in areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers.

As more than 75 percent of the Batticaloa district is not under the control of the Sri Lanka Army, a very large number of polling booths have been clustered in special centres in Vaakarai, Kiran, Morakoddanchenai, Santhiveli, Kurukkalmadam, Kaluwanjikudy etc.

Many of the polling booths here are for voters living as far away from these centres as 20-30 kilometers. There is no public transport in most parts of Batticaloa's expansive hinterland.

 

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