Violence marks election campaign in North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 August 2008, 16:13 GMT]
The election campaign in Sri Lanka's North Central and Sabaragamuwa provincial elections to be held on August 23 came to an end Wednesday midnight with scores of election related violence that topped up to 250 reported incidents from both provinces including a murder, arson, attempted murder and intimidations. Ten political parties and eight independent groups are contesting in Polonnaruwa while 11 parties and seven independent groups are contesting in Anuradhapura. More than 21,000 police are being deployed in the provinces as well as Sri Lanka Army soldiers.

The latest incident was reported from Polonnaruwa district where UPFA General Secretary, Maithripala Sirisena's brother and a prominent rice mill owner, Wijayananda Sirisena's house was attacked on Wednesday night, and he was badly beaten by alleged UNP supporters. His leg was fractured and he was rushed to Colombo for treatment.

On Thursday, election monitoring groups concerned about appointing Special Task Force Commandant, senior DIG Mahinda Balasuriya to supervise the present DIG in Anuradhapura, K. P. P. Pathirana.

Earlier, on Wednesday, members of the Society of Religions who met Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake at the Elections Department had requested him to ensure violence free polls in the Sabaragamuwa and North Central Provinces.

The religious leaders, comprising the Anunayake of the Kotte Chapter the Ven Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera, the Chief Incumbent of the Kotte Sri Nagavihara the Ven Maduluwave Sobitha Thera, the Secretary of the Amarapura Sangha Sabha the Ven Brahakmanawatte Sivali Thera, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Colombo the Rt. Rev Oswald Gomis and representatives of other religions, had expressed their concern at the prevailing violent situation in the two provinces.

1698 candidates are contesting from UPFA, UNP, JVP, UPF and independent groups.

Twenty one members are to be elected from Anuradhapura district and 10 from Polonnaruwa for the North Central provincial council.

For the Sabaragamuwa provincial council, 24 members are to be elected from Ratnapura district and 18 members from Kegalle district respectively. Eleven political parties and nine independent groups are contesting in Ratnapura district, while 14 parties and 11 independent groups are contesting in Kegalle district.


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