14,000 Tamils in Mutur denied booths
[TamilNet, Thursday, 15 November 2001, 22:43 GMT]
The Returning Officer for Trincomalee district has turned down a request by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to set up clustered polling booths in Mutur south, enabling about 14,000 voters in the area to cast their votes on 5 December election. Instead, an additional bus service will be provided to the Tamil voters living in the region to travel to clustered polling stations set up near Mahindapura Sri Lanka Army camp and Muttur Al Hidaya School, he said.
A spokesman of the TNA said, "the decision to provide additional bus service on the day is an attempt to fob the voters off. It would not be carried out."
Earlier the Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the chief candidate of the TNA for the Trincomalee district, Mr. R. Sampanthan in a letter to the Commissioner of Elections complained that adequate attention was not paid to the difficulties of Tamil voters living in Tamil Tiger controlled areas when deciding upon polling stations in Trincomalee district.
He told the Election Chief in his letter that "the location of present clustered polling stations near Mahindapura army camp and at Muttur Al Hidayala School could only result in the vast majority of more than fourteen thousand Tamil voters living in several Tamil villages which are not under the control of State armed forces not exercising their franchise on account of the grave inconvenience due to transport problem as they have to travel about 4 to 10 km."
"The cumulative impact of these serious shortcomings in regard to the critical question of polling can be very damaging to Tamil representation in parliament from the Trincomalee district," Mr. Sampanthan pointed out in his letter.
29.10.01 Clustered booths enable rigging -TULF