Monitoring election violence in Sri Lanka
Northern Provincial Council Election 2013 – Communiqué No 8
Northern Provincial Council Election 2013 – Communiqué No 8
21th September 2013: 12 pm
CMEV has received complaints of a number of incidents on election day since polls opened at 7 am, including an assault, intimidation of voters, campaigning near polling stations and distribution of food items while canvassing. As of twelve noon there had been a moderate turnout in urban areas in Jaffna. However, CMEV has also received reports that there has been low turnout in other areas, including in Mullaitivu districts. In these areas voters had to travel significant distances, up to 22 km to get to polling stations. CMEV had raised this issue with the Election Commissioner who provided assurances that transport would be provided free of charge but as of 12 noon transport is very limited or not available. Specific incidents where voters have been intimidated, allegedly by UPFA politicians and the military have resulted in fear among voters in these locations.
On election day, September 21st, CMEV deployed 240 election monitors at individual polling stations in addition to 17 field monitors and 8 mobile units.
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. Currently, CMEV is made up on CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.
Some of the main incidents include
Northern Province, No 50,Kokkupaddayam Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School Silvavathura polling station, Mannar Electorate, Mannar District
As reported by CMEV mobile observer, Mannar district candidate of Our Nation Party, Abdul Salam Mohomad Hilmy contesting under No.01 has been allegedly assaulted by the body guards of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen near the gate of the polling station No. 50 Kokkupaddayam Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School at around 10.30am. The victim has lodged a complaint (CIB-104-84) with the Silavathura Police at around 11.05am. The OIC of this police station is investigating the incident. The victim was taken to the Pesalai hospital for treatment.
Threat and intimidation
No. 9 Sinnapoovarasankulam G. T. M. School polling station, Vavuniya District, Vavuniya Electorate
At 9.04 am two persons had come to polling station No. 9 Sinnapoovarasankulam G. T. M. School in the Vavuniya District on a motorcycle bearing the number NP HS 7187 and been standing in front of the station for a long period of time. A group of youth at the polling station reported to the CMEV monitor who was at the site that they had gone to the polling station to cast their vote but recognised the two persons as army soldiers and therefore had not voted. The youth claimed that the two men had been there for over two hours and that many voters had come to the polling station but had turned back without casting their vote.
No. 42 Thampaddi Government Tamil Mix School (G.T.M.S) polling station, Jaffna District, Kayts Electorate
CMEV monitors received complaints from villagers in Thampaddi at around 10.05 am that the Pradeshya Saba Chairman Daniel Rexian (Rajip) who had come to the village together with a group of people (who were not from the village) had started to threaten the public near the polling station. CMEV monitors were present at polling station No. 42 Thampaddi Government Tamil Mix School (G.T.M.S) between 9.30 am – 10.00 am. While the CMEV monitors were present in the polling station the situation remained calm. However as soon as they left was when the incident took place.
CMEV has received reports that on the 19th and 20th of September this group had threatened community leaders, religious leaders and other community members who were told not to vote and to pass the message to others in the village as well. Individuals complained to CMEV that Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Daniel Rexian from the UPFA had personally threatened them. People in the village alleged that a motorbike bearing registration number NP-VK 9353 was seen roaming in Thampaddi village area.
By around 10.00 am, out of 758 voters in Thamppaddi village so far only around 70 voters had cast their vote.
No 4, 5, 6, 7 polling stations, Jaffna District, Vaddukoddai Electorate
Members of the public in Karainagar alleged that from 7.15am onwards, in areas close to polling station No.4 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall no. 1) ; No.5 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Junior Division – Hall No.2 ) ; No.6 of J/ Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall No.2) and Polling Station No.7 of J/Karainagar Yarlton College (Hall No.3) in the Jaffna District, men in plain clothes wearing sarongs whom they suspected to be Military Intelligence were preventing the public from entering the polling stations.
Other Election Related Offenses
No. 16 Udayarkaddu Maha Vidyalayam polling station, Mullaithivu District, Mullaithivu Electorate
A CMEV monitor reported two vehicles (Jaguar bearing registration number 301-2996 and Hi-ace van bearing registration number 59-1143) marked with stickers bearing the number 8 were parked directly in front of polling station No. 16 Udayarkaddu Maha Vidyalayam. Supporters of Mullaitivu district UPFA candidate Sriskandaraja Arul Jenipod contesting under No.8 were openly distributing cards marked (X) against number 8. This incident took place in the presence of the Police around 11.00 am.
No. 22 Oddusuddan Hindu Tamil Mixed School polling station, Mullaitivu District, Mullaitivu Electorate
CMEV monitors observed around 11.00 am the unofficial transporting of voters from Periyasalampan to polling station No. 22 Oddusuddan Hindu Tamil Mixed School (3 km away from the polling station). CMEV monitors picked up cards of Mullaitivu district UPFA candidate A. Sivalingam Shatheesh Kumar contesting under No.3 from the ground where the bus was parked.
No. 8 Mallavi Central College Polling Station, Mullaitivu District, Mullaitivu electorate.
As reported by a CMEV monitor, at 11.05am inmates of Rehabilitation Centers for suspected former LTTE combatants had gathered around the Mallavi Central College and engaged in canvassing and requesting voters to vote for UPFA.
No. 15, 16, 17, 18 polling station, Jaffna District, Udupiddy Electorate
At around 11.45am, a CMEV monitor reported that TNA supporters had given arrack and cigarettes to voters who came to polling stations No 15 and 16 J/Valvai Sivakuru Vidyalaya Hall No. 1 and 2, polling stations No. 17 and 18 Valvai Mahalir Maha vidyalaya Hall No 1 and 2 and polling station No. 19 Valvai American Mission Tamil School to cast their vote for the TNA.
No. 8. Mannar Karisal Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School polling Station, Mannar District, Mannar Electorate
As reported by a CMEV monitor in the area, since 6.25 am near the Karisal Muslim mosque, which is located close to Mannar Karisal Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School polling station in the Mannar District, a group of supporters attached to UPFA have been distributing beef and other food provisions to the people in the area, whilst an announcement had been made through a PA system that emphasised the importance of voting for the Betel Leaf (UPFA symbol).
No.9, Mannar Pudukudiirippu Government Muslim Mixed School polling station, Mannar District, Mannar Electorate
As reported by a CMEV monitor in the area, since 6.00 am UPFA supporters have been distributing dry food provisions in Pudukudiirippu among people who were supposed to go to the Mannar Pudukudiirippu Government Muslim Mixed School polling station to cast their vote. Whilst distributing was going on people were requested to vote for the Betel Leaf (UPFA symbol).
No 47 Mannar /Arippu R.C.T.M.S. Arippu polling station, Mannar District, Mannar Electorate.
At 8.10 am, a group close to about 50 people were gathered around the Mannar /Arippu R.C.T.M.S. Arippu school gate (polling station No. 47). The gathering of people, other than voters and individuals approved by the Election Commissioner within 500m of a polling station is an election offense. CMEV monitors observed a police team arriving at the polling station and dispersed the crowd.
CMEV field monitor observed that TNA posters stating “Preference of Tamil will be TNA” was displayed at the Arippu sub post office. Posters that read “Wake up Tamils” were also pasted on walls close to the polling station. CMEV monitor also observed TNA posters of Candidate No. 5 Mr. Christhothram Vimalasegaram, and Candidate No.1 Mr. Anthony Soosairatnam Premouse Siraiva were pasted on a partition wall next to the post office.
No 31 MU/Kiri Ibban Vewa Vidyalayam polling station, Mullaithivu District, Mullaithivu Electorate
At 9.20am a CMEV monitor observed a van bearing the registration number 56-0694 transporting people to the polling station. The CMEV monitor also observed that about 200m away from the polling station around 100 or more people were gathered and about 15 motorcycles and a few other vehicles were parked around the area. At a house 200m away from the polling station a person was seated at a desk and was engaged in what seemed like preparation of a list.
No. 33 Mv/ Mavilankeny R.C.T.M.S Murungan polling station, Mannar District, Mannar Electorate
CMEV monitors observed a van bearing registration number 56-3493 transporting voters to polling station No. 33 Mv/ Mavilankeny R.C.T.M.S Murungan. The van was plastered with campaign posters of Mr. Abbas Abdul Rifkan – UPFA Candidate No 4 from the Mannar District.
No. 4 Nadakandal Government Tamil Mixed school polling station, Mullaitivu District, Mullaitivu Electorate
CMEV Monitor reported that 2 private buses appeared to be operating between a 3km distance from Nadakandal Government Tamil Mixed School. The CMEV monitor observed that no bus had come to the polling station from Moontrumpurippu (10km away) transporting voters as promised by Election Commissioner. Hence very few voters came to vote as there was no bus service available. There are 548 registered voters in Moontrupurippu. According to the CMEV monitor by 12.00 noon less than 10% voters had exercised their vote.
Pre poll incidents
Killinochchi District Killinochchi Electorate/Killinochchi Town TNA Chief Organizer Sritharan’s Party Office
It was reported to CMEV that at around 10.30pm on September 20th, Killinochchi electorate TNA Chief Organizer and Member of Parliament S. Sritharan’s Party Office was surrounded by a large number of unidentified persons including police officers in uniform. They reportedly remained there for a long period of time, so as to make the people inside feel harassed. Roughly around 15 TNA supporters had been at the office during this time. It was reported that, the incident was informed to the Police Emergency Service 119, however no action to curb the situation was taken. Around 11.15 p.m CMEV Mobile Team had arrived at the scene after which the crowd had dispersed. In an interview with Mr. Sritharan, he alleged suspects were the intelligence groups attached to the military.