50% turnout, paramilitary manipulates voting in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 March 2008, 11:10 GMT]
Voter turnout within Batticaloa municipal council was low till Monday noon, according to the sources in Batticaloa city. However, turnout at rural areas was above 50%. Despite the presence of a reasonable number of monitors, there were reports of fraudulent activities as paramilitary personnel were actively engaged in transporting voters to the booths. The TMVP paramilitary has heaped up anti-Muslim campaign warning Tamils that non-participation in local elections would benefit the Muslims. Paramilitary personnel were also seen visiting households checking civilians' participation in the elections. Violent incidents were low.

Voting booths at Ki'n'niyadi, Chungkaankea'ni, Meeravoadai and Aaraiyampathi were reasonably busy with voter turnout, sources there said. 69% turnout was registered in Aaraiyampathi, 52% in Vaazhaichcheanai, 55% in Ea'raavoorpattu, 52% in Vaakarai, 53% in Ka'luvaagnchchikkudi, 49% in Vavu'natheevu and 47% in Paddippa'lai.

However, there were reports of votes being cast fraudulently at the voting booths in Vanthaa'rumooalai, Chiththaandi, Peaththaa'lai, Kalmadu, Kumpu'rumoolai and Kalkudaa.

Policemen were checking the identity cards of the voters at many booths except some stations at Vanthaa'rumoolai, Paththaa'lai, Chiththaandi and Kalmadu. A number males who turned out to vote at Kalkudaa were drunk, according to eyewitness reports.

At most of the voting booths, Police was strictly checking identity cards between 7:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. However, the checking was relaxed later.

The TMVP paramilitary was engaged in transporting civilians at Chiththaa'ndi and Ka'ruvaakkea'ni.

The EPDP, another paramilitary group, has complained that the Pillayan group was engaged in forcing voters to cast votes for TMVP candidates. According to the complain by the EPDP, a group of men who arrived in white van had engaged in fraudulent voting.

The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) has also complained to the election monitors that Sri Lankan minister Ameer Ali, aligned with the ruling party in Colombo, has been engaged in election fraud.


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