Election violence complaints nearing 1000

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 November 2001, 21:54 GMT]
The United National Party's chief candidate for Jaffna Electoral District, Mr.Maheswaran has complained to the police that his party's polling agents and supporters who went to Kayts in Jaffna to monitor postal voting have been threatened by armed cadres of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP). He said his party agents have been told not to visit the Kayts area either for canvassing or to monitor polling. 243,000 public employees are eligible for postal voting which began today.

Mr.Maheswaran said the EPDP has planned large-scale vote rigging in Kayts and other adjoining islands off Jaffna peninsula.

The EPDP is a coalition partner of the ruling People's Alliance. The General Secretary of the EPDP is a minister in the present cabinet.

In a separate incident at Mawanella in the south of the island, two UNP polling agents who went to monitor postal voting were attacked by ruling party supporters. The two wounded UNP activists were later admitted to the hospital, Mawanella Police said.

Meanwhile Police Election Secretariat said that 47 election related violence were reported during the last twenty four hours that ended Tuesday morning at 6 a.m.

The total number of election related complaints reported to the Police Election Secretariat since the filing of nominations has risen to 975. Of those, the UNP has lodged 498 complaints and the ruling PA 325. The JVP has lodged 50 complaints, the police said.

The European Union Observers' Mission, which is in Sri Lanka to monitor the forthcoming elections, Monday appealed to all major political parties and independent groups to educate their supporters the necessity to ensure violence-free and fair polls.

Meanwhile the Gampaha High Court Judge Tuesday allowed Deputy Minister Mr.Reggie Ranatunge on cash and surety bail. The High Court Judge Mr.Ranjit de Silva further ordered the Deputy Minister to report to the police station in his area once in every month.

Mr.Reggie Ranatunge had been remanded in connection with the death of a UNP supporter on October 24 at Pethiagoda in Gampaha.

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