Attack on UNP kills one

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 January 1999, 20:08 GMT]
A Tamil youth campaigning for the United National Party (UNP) was shot dead when gunmen suspected to be members of Sri Lanka's ruling People's Allaiance (PA) fired at the house of UNP candiadte, Mr.Gamini Dissanayaka, last night at Kuliyapitiya northwest of Colombo.

The person, identified as P.Siva, is a treasure of a UNP youth front in the Kuliyapitiya area party sources said.

Following is the Media Communiqué issued by the Center for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) which has its ofice at 32/3, flower road, Colombo-7

"Media Communiqué on Election - related violence During the 1999 North-Western Provincial Council Elections Saturday 16th January 1999

UNP supporter P.Siva was shot dead last night by unknown persons in the first election - related murder since the beginning of the North - Western Provincial council election campaign.

Siva was killed when several rounds were fired from at least two T-56 automatic rifles at Kurunagala district UNP candidate Gamini Disanayake's house in Hettipola near Kuliyapitiya at 11.50 p.m. yesterday.

Mr.Disanayake's wife, Padma and UNP Mahara Pradeshiya Sabha member K.S.M. Tudor were seriously injured in the incident. Mrs.Disanayake was shot in the chest and Mr.Tudor was shot in the stomach. They have both been admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo.

Mrs.Disanayake Underwent surgery at noon today and is listed as stable but doctors told CMEV that her condition needs to be reviewed periodically, Mr.Tudor is listed as serious and is warded at intensive care unit. Mr.Disanayake and his two children were in the house when the shooting occurred, but did not suffer any injuries.

Mr.Disanayake could not be reached for comment, but his brother in law Mr.Gunawardene who was in Mr.Disanayake's house at the time of the incident told CMEV last night that more than fifty rounds were fired at the house.

He said that the assailant had arrived in three double cabs, a white Toyota Hiace van and a blue Pajero with tinted glasses. Mr.Upul , one of Mr.Disanayake's supporters and an eye witness to the incident alleged that while the identities and party affiliations of the assailants are unknown, a group of PA supporters had destroyed UNP banners and flags outside Mr.Disanayake's house earlier in the evening.

Senior Superintendent of Police for Kuliyapitiya, B.M.Premaratne informed CMEV that the police has only been able to retrieve eight spent T-56 bullet casings. He also said that according to eye witness, the assailants had arrived in three vehicles and fired at Mr.Disanayake's house with two T-56 rifles from the main road. The vehicles are then said to have been allowed to go through a police checkpoint about two hundred yards down the road. No arrests have been made in connection with the shooting as at 1.30 PM. Today, but police constables Mangala, Tillekaratne, Kamal and Adikari who were manning the checkpoint have been interdicted.

UNP MP Piyasoma Upali for Kurunagala District blamed the incident on the government, He alleged that while more than thirty incidents of election related violence had been reported to the Kuliyapitiya police. The police had failed to take any action with connection to any of them. He alleged that therefore, perpetrators of violence have been acting with impunity in the area. CMEV has recorded thirty seven incidents since 7th December 1998 in the Kuliyapitiya police area. This is the second highest number of incidents reported from a single police area in the province next to Mawathagama.

S.B.Nawinna, PA chief minister candidate told CMEV that he believed the perpetrators were from his party. However he said that he has not been able to determine the identities of the individuals.

Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Minister of plan implementation and Parliamentary Affairs who has been appointed to oversee the PA campaign in Kurunagala district condemned the attack and said that President Chandirika Bandaranaike Kumarathunga has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.

CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Center 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.

Sanaka Samarasinha, co-ordinator CMEV"


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