EPDP rigs polls in Jaffna, Mannar
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 December 2001, 09:15 GMT]
Police sources in Jaffna said that the Eelam People’s Democratic Party fired on an opposition candidate and lobbed a grenade at his vehicle near Vaddukoddai junction this morning around 9 a.m. They said that the EPDP had also fired on a bus in which voters were travelling near Chankanai and had smashed a Tamil National Alliance van on Stanley Road in the heart of Jaffna town. Meanwhile, an observer with the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), an independent monitoring group, in Jaffna said that the EPDP cadres were seen rigging the polls in the island of Kayts, Velanai and at the polling centres at the Jaffna Hindu College, St. John’s College and the Nelliyadi Maththiya Maha Viththiyalayam. Some voters who went to these centres found their ballots already cast, the PAFFREL source said.
A heavily armed group of the EPDP had attempted to waylay a UNP convoy led by the party’s chief candidate Mr. T. Maheswaran at Thinnevely this morning. But the UNPers beat back the attackers and smashed up one of their vehicles, sources in Jaffna said. No one has been arrested in connection with the incident so far Police said.
Mr. M. Sivapalan, a UNP candidate, has sought Police protection after his vehicle was attacked with a grenade and fire upon by armed EPDP cadres near Vaddukkoddai junction.
Meanwhile, UNP sources in Jaffna said that the polling agents of the party who were sent to the EPDP controlled island of Neduntheevu (Delft) were not allowed to land last night by heavily armed cadres of the pro-government group.
The polling agents and others who went with them were forced to leave the island and had to land on the island of Nainatheevu.
The UNP polling agents set out to the EPDP controlled island of Neduntheevu again this morning with some PCs provided by the Kayts Police, sources said.
Police sources in Nanaataan in Mannar said that a group of EPDP cadres were caught with a large number of polling cards near the polling centre in the area. They said that the group appeared to have been impersonating many voters in the area until it was detected later this morning by alert TNA polling agents.