Colombo appoints Police officer to deal with election violence

[TamilNet, Saturday, 28 February 2004, 16:08 GMT]
Colombo appointed a senior Police officer to deal with election violence for the first time in Sri Lanka’s post independence history as more than 30 persons were reported injured in clashes between supporters and members of political parties campaigning for the 2 April polls to the island’s Parliament. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mr. Jayantha Wickremaratna has been put in charge of the special desk for election violence at the Sri Lanka Police Headquarters in Colombo. The officer has been appointed in addition to the DIG who is normally in charge of elections.

The SL Police also appointed DIG Gamini Randeniya to deal with communication and transport during the elections. The DIG elections is Mr. Gamini Navaratna.

DIG Mr. Jayantha Wickremaratna will continue his usual duties as head of crimes, criminal intelligence and organized crime, sources said.

Meanwhile, senior Police officials in Colombo denied reports that 196 incidents of elections violence have been reported since nominations were handed in by political parties and independent groups to contest the Parliamentary polls on 2 April. They said only twenty of these were violent incidents directly connected to the elections.

Polls in Sri Lanka have regularly been marred by organized and random crime. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s uncle and former deputy minister for defense, Col. Anuruddha Ratwatte and his son were accused of murdering ten Muslim youth in a van who were campaigning for the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress during the polls in 2001 December.


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