Within less than two hours after the date for Presidential polls were announced, a UNP supporter has been shot in the Maggona area by a group of associates of government Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardhana, marking the first incident of presidential election violence.
According to election monitoring body – Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) the victim identified as Chamila Ranasinghe, a resident of Maggona had been shot in the head twice near the Maggona junction this evening at around 6.30 pm. He had been lighting firecrackers to celebrate the announcement of former Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate.
Ranasinghe who is in critical condition has been transferred to the Colombo National Hospital.
The group who had shot Ranasinghe, has been identified as supporters of Minister Abeygunawardhana who is popular known in the area as ‘Raththaran’ and they had been actively involved in the election campaigning activities of Abeygunawardena’s brother recently.
After shooting Ranasinghe, they had also destroyed some cutouts of former Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senarathne who joined the common opposition movement today in support of Sirisena’s candidacy.
CaFFE notes that residents in the area had expressed their disappointmentovert the Police inaction concerning the violence as the Beruwala OIC is a staunch supporter of Minister Abeygunawardhana.