EPDP threats hassle Jaffna candidates

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 November 2001, 17:16 GMT]
The chief candidate of the United National Party in Jaffna, Mr. T. Maheswaran wrote to the Commissioner of Elections Wednesday that polling booths in the islands of Karainagar, Kayts, Nainathivu and Delft should be located in the peninsula because the serious threat posed by the EPDP. He said that heavily armed cadres of the EPDP are intimidating and preventing candidates of other parties from entering the islands. Meanwhile, Mr. Anandasangari, the chief candidate in Jaffna for the Tamil National Alliance said that he was threatened by armed members of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) in Nelliyadi where he went to open a campaign office Wednesday.

Mr. Maheswaran said that he was threatened by the EPDP when he visited the island of Kayts Sunday. ‘Napoleon’, the commander of the EPDP’s military wing in Kayts had warned Mr. Maheswaran not to campaign in the islands. An altercation between heavily armed cadres of the EPDP and the UNP candidate had followed.

The EPDP has, however, complained to the Police in Kayts that Mr. Maheswaran attempted to assault its members.

Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, ex-MP for Jaffna and a senior Politburo member of the TULF said that has not considered campaigning in the far-flung islands of Jaffna which are under the control of the military wing of the EPDP because of the serious risks involved in going or staying there. He said that his party is speaking to elections monitors and the commissioner of elections about the situation in the islands off Jaffna, apprising them of the manner in which the EPDP has intimidated voters and officials there and rigged the polls at will.

Mr. Sithamparappillai Sooriyakumar, the secretary of the Federation of Fisheries Co-operatives of Vadamaradchi said Wednesday that he too was threatened by the EPDP. Mr. Sooriyakumar said that the EPDP’s Karaveddy organiser had accused him of tacitly supporting the Tamil National Alliance. The EPDP cadre had warned Mr. Sooriyakumar that he would have to consider his personal safety if he had anything to do with the Tamil alliance in the future.

EPDP sources in Jaffna town said that several large hoardings (cut outs) depicting Mr. Douglas Devananda, the leader of the party were burnt by unidentified ‘miscreants’ this week.


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