The first incident of abduction and assault on an individuals engaged in election campaigning was reported from Moneragala this morning, reflecting the failure of the Police to take action against the rampant election-related violence committed by gangs sponsored by UPFA candidates.
Eight students who had been visiting Moneragala to take part and support JVP election campaigning activities had been attacked this morning. Two groups in an unregistered Defender jeep and a white van had attacked the students. One of the students who had been residing at the residence of JVP candidate Palliyaguruge had been abducted and dumped by the side of a road, hours later. He had been heavily assaulted.
The victimized students are from Kelaniya, Sabaragamuwa, Moratuwa and the Open Universities. They had been attacked by the gangs with heavy poles and have suffered injuries to their necks, arms and heads.
JVP contestant Palliyaguruge has been the target of many of the attacks carried by these gangs who have been driving around the Moneragala area in unregistered vehicles.
According to election monitoring body – Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) close to 100 university students have visited the Moneragala area to engage in door to door campaigning for the JVP and to attend grassroot-level meetings. Their observations have revealed that these gangs have been targeting these small-scale meetings and attempting to disrupt them using violence.
One of the attacks on the students had taken place just about 50m away from a temporary Police check point that have been set up according to the instructions of the Elections Commissioner as a remedy for the rampant election law violations and election-related violence taking place in the area. Despite the presence of Police personnel at the checkpoint, the unregistered vehicle had managed to drive past it.