Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) verified the first incident of election related violence yesterday (August 17.) Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) lodged a complaint that one of their candidates, V Kanagaratnam and his supporters were assaulted in the Delft Island on August 15 while campaigning.
Meeting CaFFE election observers in Mannar Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP S Adikkalanathan said that TNA candidate V Kanagaratnam and his supporters were staying at a house when they were attacked. The attackers have been identified as EPDP members; among those was Delft Pradesheeya Sabha chairman. The MP added that their supporters had been asked not to return to Delft.
Three TNA supporters were injured during the attack and were admitted to Jaffna Teaching Hospital. Adikkalanathan told CaFFE that Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) has been targeting Tamil National Alliance (TNA) candidates competing for the coming Provincial Council elections and that he expects these attacks to increase in the coming weeks. Meanwhile EPDP has stated that the party will conduct an investigation on the matter to verify TNA’s claim.
“This attack and the expectation of further violence hints that the campaign in Jaffna might take a violent turn as the election draws near. This incident adds to the fear psychosis created among opposition party candidates by being questioned by groups stating that they are from military intelligence.” says Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, the Executive Director of CaFFE.
The Colombo Telegraph has been unable to reach EPDP leader Douglas Devananda for comment.