Network for Election Monitoring of the Intellectuals for Human rights (NEM-IHR) states it has received 191 complaints of election violence and violations in relation to Uva PC election from the day the nominations were handed over until the morning on 27.08.2014.
A communique signed by the Chief Executive Officer of NEM IHR Dr. Uditha Gunasekera states among the complaints they have studied are 97 instances of illegal propaganda, 34 instances of election violence, 11 instances of illegal use of state resources, 10 instances of using state power unfairly, 8 instances of unjustifiable influence on public viewpoint, 4 instances of police partiality, 26 instances of obstructing legal propaganda campaigns and one other incident related to the election.
The communique further states, “During the past few days a tendency of election violence escalating was observed. The worst damage was inflicted on the JVP. 15 of their party offices have been attacked and damaged and 4 instances of using firearms have been reported against that party.
Also, attacks against 14 election offices of the UNP, 2 offices of the Democratic Party and one office of the UPFA have been reported while two vehicles belonging to UPFA and an office of NFF have been attacked.
We believe that the incidents are an attempt to sow terror among activists of opposition political parties and sabotage their election campaigns. We have already emphasized that the IGP’s mediation is essential to curb the situation. We also emphasized that firearms belonging to gangs of thugs and politicians in Uva Province should be taken over by the police.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economic Development is taking steps to deploy 50 Samurdhi Officers each to all Divisional Secretariats in Badulla and Monaragala districts on 7th and 8th of next month. The complaint we received regarding this indicates that these Samurdhi Officers, on the pretext of their duties as state officers, are to be used in the election campaign of the UPFA to distribute various items to Samurdhi recipients.
Also, complaints have been received of a plan to send graduates who were recently recruited by the Ministry of Economic Development to all houses in Uva Province on the pretext of carrying out an economic survey but in reality to carry out the election campaign of the UPFA. This is an instance of deviously deploying state employees in election campaigns by the Ministry of Economic Development and is a violation of the circular PCE/2014/UVA/03 issued by the Commissioner of Elections on 16.07.2014.
Such surveys and distribution of goods to Samurdhi recipients that influence the public opinion and give false hopes to people regarding various economic programmes totally jeopardizes the attempt to hold a free and fair election. Election authorities should take urgent measures to prevent such attempts,” states the Chief Executive Officer of the NEM IHR.