The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has expressed grave concern over the increasing election violence that is being reported from the Uva province in the wake of Provincial polls while pointing out it does not augur well for the polling day.
Releasing a statement, the election monitoring body has stated that such incidents do not augur well for the campaign nor the polling day and has called upon the Police to take necessary action promptly.
The CMEV has confirmed 24 incidents of election related violence and malpractice off a total of 62 complaints and noted that 12 of them are major incidents. It also points out that there is a significant increase in the violence of electoral laws over the last 20 days since nominations in comparison to provincial council polls of previous years.
The statement asserts that in areas such as Badalkumbura and Bibile in the Moneragala district, the situation remains tense and stresses on the fact that it should be brought to the urgent attention of relevant authorities.
The CMEV has noted two points of concern in the Moneragala district to which includes the pressure exerted by a small handful of candidates and their unwillingness to recognise the political rights of others to campaign. Among their serious criticisms of the campaigning activities in Moneragala includes
-the introduction of large numbers of supporters from other areas including Colombo
-failure of the Police to control incidents that have resulted in the situation
It goes on to state that while the use of firearms to threaten rivals and damaging of political party offices have increased in the areas, the tension is heightened by an armed group loitering in the areas at night as alleged by some of the political parties, that has even been held responsible for damaging the offices of UNP, JVP and DP.
The most recent of such incidents has been referred in the CMEV statement where it quotes the JVP candidate RM Jayawardena who has stated that while they set up a stage for a meeting, UPFA supporters disrupted the preparations and interrupted the power supply with the authorisation of the Badalkumbura Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Kapila Samarakkody. According to Jayawardena, the group had once again returned later during the day, fired shots into air with a T56 and the melee had resulted in severe damages to the stage and sound equipment.
However, when inquired by the CMEV Samarakkody had rejected the allegations and stated that two UPFA supporters were also injured and admitted to the Moneragala hospital following the incident.
The Uva Provincial council elections are due to be held on September 20 and the PC was dissolved through a gazette notification 1870/64 on July 11, 2014. The postal voting for the elections are due to be held on September 4 and 5. Interestingly, 27% of postal voting applications have been rejected by the Elections Secretariat because forms had not been completed or were received following the deadline. Some 30,699 government servants are eligible to cast postal votes.