Thousands from Vanni vote in Omanthai, Uyilankulam, Madhu

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 April 2004, 07:50 GMT]
Thousands of enthusiastic voters from the Mullaithivu district and the northern parts of the Vavuniya district which are controlled by the Liberation Tigers swarmed to polling stations in Omanthai Friday morning to cast their ballots. More than thirty percent of the fifty two thousand voters in Mullaithivu had cast their votes by 10 a.m. according to the chief returning officer for the district, Ms. Imelda Sukumar. Omanthai, a dilapidated town surrounded by Sri Lankan military garrisons is eighteen kilometres north of Vavuniya town.

“The last time I voted was in 1977”, said Mr. Sithamparapillai Arumugam, 58, a farmer from Mullaithivu. Voter turn out in Vavuniya and Mannar towns is more enthusiastic than last time, according to TamilNet correspondents.

Polling in these towns was low at the December 2001 general elections due to a general atmosphere of fear amid heavy presence of the Sri Lankan military and Police. Thousands more rushed on foot to the clustered polling stations located in the Omanthai Central College, 2.7 kilometres from Puliyankulam, as crossing the border was getting delayed by Sri Lankan Police registering the vehicles in which they were travelling to vote.

Voters came from as far as away as the remote villages of Semmalai and Othiyamalai in Mullaithivu, more than 40-50 kilometres from Omanthai.

Voting is taking place at forty-nine polling centres for people from the Mullaithivu district and at twelve centres for the 12232 voters from the northern parts of the Vavuniya district that are controlled by the Liberation Tigers. Refugees who recently resettled in the war-destroyed town of Omanthai are voting at a polling booth that is also in the Central College. There are 1269 voters among the resettled residents of Omanthai.

The army at the Omanthai entry point did not interfere in the procedures relating to letting voters through to the polling stations, election officials said.

Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
Voting area.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya.
Mothers waiting in a queue to caste their votes with their babies.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya.
A woman voter is putting her ballot paper into the ballot box while Sivanathan Kishore - TNA candidate watching.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
Armed Police personnel on guard duty.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
One of the election monitors observing the voting in a polling booth.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
Mr.T.T.Miskin the Senior Superintendent of Police is observing the security arrangements at Omanthai check point near the no-man land area.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
Policemen escorting a bus from the entrance of the checkpoint to the cluster Polling stations at Omanthai Central College.
Voting in Omanthai, Vavuniya
A bus coming through the no-man land area.


Meanwhile, the TamilNet correspondent who visited polling centres for the 11975 voters from the northern parts of the Mannar district held by the LTTE, said voting was quite brisk there too.

Twelve polling booths are clustered in the Uyilankulam Government Tamil Mixed School for these voters. Voters from villages in and around the Madhu Catholic shrine are voting in four polling booths by the St. Anthony’s Church at Madhu Road Junction. There are 3305 voters in this area which is also held by the LTTE.


Related Articles:
02.04.04   2001 - Election Results

 

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