Thursday, April 08, 2010

Sri Lanka's Polls marred by violence

By Jamila Najmuddin and Sumaiya Rizwi - Several incidents of election violence have been reported islandwide since polling began this morning, including a shooting incident in Galle where several houses and a vehicle were damaged, election observers told Daily Mirror online.

PAFFREL Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told Daily Mirror online that the shooting incident had been a result of inter party violence and a vehicle had also been damaged in the shooting.

Meanwhile a complaint has also been lodged against a UPFA candidate for holding an illegal rally opposite a polling booth in Badulla, a short while ago.

Hettiarachchi said that the candidate had gathered his supporters and had started a meeting in front of the booth.

In other incidents, polling agents from the UNP had been chased away from the booths at the Anamaduwa Walapanawa Vidyalaya and Madawakkulama booth in Galle Hettiarachchi said.

A polling agent of the Democratic National Allaince (DNA) was also chased away by a UPFA supporter on his way to take over duties at a polling booth in Dompe today morning.

In Gampaha, a polling agent from the JVP was chased away from assuming his duties at the polling booth.

Meanwhile, the CMEV reported incidents of discrepancies relating to the order given by the Elections Commissioner to mark the ring finger for the purpose of voting.

The CMEV said that despite the Elections Chief clearly stating that the ring finger should be marked after casting votes, several polling agents had marked the index finger of the voters.

Meanwhile illegal propaganda text messages have been circulated from candidates today in violation to the Election laws, Advisor to the Elections Commissioner Bandula Kulathunga said.

“These candidates send these illegal text messages without fear because they have the powerful backing of certain people,” Kulathunga said. The telephone companies should know that they are engaging in an illegal activity and they will also be found guilty, he said.

“Last night the state media was telecasting a pirith ceremony and showed candidates also participating in it. This is illegal and is also a violation of the election laws,” Kulathunga added.

© Daily Mirror Online

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