Post polls: Cycle of violence order of the day
At least 14 incidents of post-election violence and two election related deaths have been reported after last Saturday’s elections to the Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and North Central Provincial Councils. Both the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party as well as the main opposition United National Party (UNP) lost a member each due to intra-party violence.
A majority of the incidents were reported from the Anuradhapura district where the number of clashes between supporters of former UPFA chief minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and S.M. Ranjith (UPFA) who secured the most number of preferential votes in the district staked a claim for the chief minister’s post.
Both reported deaths were from the Anuradhapura district.During the run-up to the elections, on September 6, a supporter of Mr. Ranjith, who was allegedly assaulted by the private secretary of Mr. Dissanayake and was hospitalised succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday September 12.
In a similar incident, on Monday, September 10, newly elected UNP North-Central Provincial Council member Aruna Buddhika Gunasekera and his supporters allegedly stormed the Mihinthale Pradeshiya Sabha Opposition leader Lalith Edirisinghe’s residence at Hathareswela and assaulted several people and damaged a number of vehicles.
In an ensuing clash, Mr. Gunasekera’s driver was severely assaulted by supporters of Mr. Edirisinghe. The victim, 40 year old Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Priyantha Kumara Dissanayake, a father of four children, was rushed to the Anuradhapura Teaching hospital where on Wednesday September 12. he succumbed to his injuries.
The clashes left two persons from both parties dead. Mr. Gunasekera and several others, wanted by the police over the incident surrendered to Anuradhapura police. Mr. Gunasekara and one of his supporters identified as Kaushalya Karunanayake were produced before the Anuradhapura Additional Magistrate Chandima Edirimanne and released on Rs. 100,000 personal bail.
Meanwhile, according to the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) there have been two attacks on SLMC members, one in Batticaloa and the other in Ampara district. Two cases of assault have were reported from the Polonnaruwa district while one case of assault was reported in the Trincomalee district.
The Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) also reported a clash in Batticaloa between the Tamil Makkal Viduthelai Puligal (TMVP) and the Tamil National Allaince (TNA) where a bike and a trishaw were burnt while in Trincomalee a tri-shaw was torched.
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