Unidentified persons carried out a grenade attack on the house of 38-year-old M.M. Mubarak of Hisbullah Road, Semman Odai, Ottamavady in the Batticaloa District around 3:00 a.m. on Friday (22) while the occupants were fast asleep.
No one was hurt in the incident that damaged the wall and window glasses. Mubarak, who is a jewellery merchant, is said to be an ardent supporter of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). Valaichchenai Police is conducting investigation into the incident.
While commending Elections Commissioner’s measures to prevent any kind of malpractices in Tuesday’s Presidential election using temporary ID cards, monitors said yesterday about 465 public sector employees are facing disciplinary action for engaging in election violations in the recently held provincial polls.
CaFFE Spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon told The Nation that officers who are engaged in election duties have to be extra vigilant as the election authorities will not let them escape easily, if found guilty of helping any kind of election offence.
“We urge the Elections Commissioner once again to publish the list of temporary ID holders in each electorate before the Election Day if possible, so that everyone who walks into the polling booth on Tuesday will know who has obtained temporary IDs,” he added. He also encouraged genuine voters to ask for a tender ballot paper from the SPO, if their vote is already being cast.
“If a genuine voter found that his vote is already being cast, he can ask the SPO to provide him a tender ballot paper. It is in blue colour. The voter himself should put it into the ballot box once he cast his vote. So that if there were few tender ballot papers in a ballot box it is an indication for the Election Commissioner to decide whether there was any malpractice,” Tennakoon noted.
Election monitors are all set to monitor the upcoming Presidential Election with greater focus on the Northern Province. Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE), Keerthi Tennekoon said 6,563 monitors would be deployed all-island and there would be close monitoring of the northern areas as there were various issues.
“This time we will be more focused on the Northern Province especially the Jaffna district. Most of the voters’ registers were not updated in many of the grama niladari divisions in Jaffna and the Wanni districts since 1986. As a result, many of the names were not included though they are eligible”, he said.
According to CaFFE the District Secretariat of Kilinochchi is functioning at a temporary venue with many shortcomings and thus, the civil administration in the area had not been established at an acceptable level.
“There seem to be many deficiencies in the voter registers in the Northern Province, compared to other provinces in the country”, he said. (Read More)
Nearly one million poll cards were left undelivered in post offices over the weekend as the deadline for the delivery ended, officials said yesterday. The Northern Province had the largest number of undelivered poll cards with more than 300,000 still stacked up in post offices, they said.
Deputy Post Master General V. Kumaraguruge who is in charge of the north said yesterday that of a total of 876,633 poll cards, 566,857 had been delivered in the districts of Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna by Thursday.
“Initially, there was a delay of about one week in receiving poll cards and we started delivery only on January 13. While it was in progress, we came to understand that it is not possible to meet the deadline of January 18. Therefore, we obtained special permission from the Elections Commissioner to extend the deadline up to January 23,” he explained. (Read More)
Police warned yesterday there was an organized attempt to rig Tuesday’s Presidential poll as prelates of four leading Buddhist sects appealed jointly to stop misuse of state property and “character assassinations.”
“I have received confirmed reports that there is an organized attempt to collect National Identity Cards (NICs) from voters to rig the polls,” Police Chief Mahinda Balasuriya told a news conference at Police Headquarters yesterday. He said “I request people not to hand over their NICs to anyone including those who claim to be from the Police.” (Read More)
The 2001 general election was the most violent election in recent history. According to police headquarters, the election secretariat had said the number of election-related incidents was 2770. This included 66 murders and firing by the police. However, the 2004 April general election was peaceful. Indra de Silva who was the IGP at that time supported by the police commission, led police officers in an organized manner to handle the election. The number of incidents related to violence at that election were less than 1000.
The provincial council election was even more peaceful than the general election. Police arrested 40 candidates in all from both the opposition and the government for violating election laws. The local government election which followed was also peaceful .
There was not much violence reported at the 1994 Presidential election excepting for the LTTE suicide attack targeting Gamini Dissanayake where 56 people died.
Fake ballot papers distorting the symbols of some candidates have been distributed by some groups around the country to confuse voters. These ballot papers have been distributed yesterday in the North and East, Central and Wayamba Provinces, our provincial correspondents said.
A truck bearing number 8264 which was carrying material slandering a candidate, model ballot papers and a stock of alcohol was apprehended by the Kurunegala Police yesterday evening. Police apprehended the truck near Dias Junction in Kurunegala.
“These ballot papers can be used to mislead voters in rural areas.” said Keerthi Tennakoon, spokesman for the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections. (Read More)
Elections Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake will divulge a special counter election malpractices strategy tomorrow to presiding officers, on how to combat polls malpractices that will have an adverse impact on the final results of the presidential elections scheduled for Tuesday (26).
“He will divulge his plan to election officers tomorrow because then those who are planning to involve in polls malpractices will not have adequate time to adjust to the Commissioner’s plan”, elections department sources said.
“Election monitors and political parties have been warning the elections commissioner about various incidents that might occur on the eve of the election and the commissioner has formulated several plans to combat these malpractices. He revealed some of the plans during the press conference on Friday but he still has some other plans up his sleeve,” said the Secretary of Civil and Political Rights of Network for Election Monitoring (NEM) Anura Karunarathna.
The Elections Commissioner has lost faith in the police and other government officials who should help him to conduct a free and fair election. That is the reason he is keeping his contingency plans to himself, department sources said.
Meanwhile, the Election Commissioner’s decision to retain temporary identity cards after the holders exercised their franchise has upset many plans to rig the vote said Campaign for Free and Fair Elections spokesman, Keerthi Tennakoon.
He added that there was a plan to use temporary identity cards for mass scale rigging. “We received information that around 50 000 fake temporary ID cards have been turned out but most of them have been withdrawn after the Election Commissioner announced that temporary IDs will be collected. If they are detected the Grama Niladhari and the Divisional Secretary will also be punished,” he said. “If someone creates an incident that would prevent voters from casting their vote he has decided to annul the vote. The Commissioner has nothing to lose and I think that his methods to prevent election rigging would minimize the malpractices on the 26th.”