191 new incidents of violence -CMEV

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 March 1999, 23:19 GMT]
Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said in statement this evening that One person was killed and 36 were wounded in the latest violence between the PA and UNP supporters this afternoon in Gampola.

Following is the full text of the statement:

"PA supporter W.H. Wimalasooriya was killed and thirty six (36) others also believed to be PA supporters were injured during a clash between supporters of the PA and UNP today. The incident took place between 2.30 p.m. and 3.00 p.m. when UNP supporters traveling in a convoy of vehicles clashed with PA supporters gathered outside the Ganga Ihala Korale Pradeshiya Sabha office in Kurunduwatte, Gampola. According to a press release issued by the Media Coordinating Unit of the PA, the death and injuries occurred during a grenade attack carried out by a group of persons accompanying UNP organizer for the Kandy District Keheliya Rambukwella.

Mr. Wimalasooriya, a forty two-year-old fishmonger from Ambalapitiya, Kurunduwatte reportedly died of head injuries. However, as at 9 p.m. police and hospital sources have not been able to confirm the cause of death.

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, a PA candidate from the Kandy District was one of six (06) persons who sustained serious injuries. At the time this report was compiled, doctors at the Peradeniya Teaching Hospital told CMEV that Mr. Aluthgamage was undergoing surgery there. Four (04) of the injured, PA supporters Jagath Kumara, Punchi Banda, Anura and Dharmasena have been admitted to the Kandy Hospital with minor shrapnel injuries, while the rest are warded at Nawalapitiya Hospital.

Seeladasa Hewapathirana, Mr. Aluthgamage's private secretary, alleges that Mr. Aluthgamage was conducting a pocket meeting of PA supporters when the UNPers attacked them. He also says that all the injured are PA supporters. However, UNP National List MP Sarath Kongahage who was with Mr. Rambukwella at the time claims that the clash was initiated by the PA supporters, who he says had attacked their convoy with grenades as it was passing the Pradeshiya Sabha office. No injuries have been reported by the UNP.

Both the PA and UNP have lodged complaints with the Gampola Police.

CMEV has recorded one hundred and ninety one (191) incidents of election-related violence from the five (05) provinces since 17th February 1999.

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition Against Political Violence as an independent and non-partisan organisation to monitor the incidence of election-related violence.

Sanaka Samarasinha Coordinator, CMEV"


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