Presidential Election 2010: Media Communiqué No. 15
This update released 18 January 2010. Read it in Sinhala here.
North Western Province
Murder in Kurunegala
According to Mr. Manjula Bandara (son of Member of Parliament and UNP Organizer for Wariyapola Ms. Amara Piyaseeli), between 12.30am and 1.00am this morning, Mr. Dhammika Herath (also known as Manju) was beaten to death by supporters of Minister of Rural Industries & Self-Employment Promotion S.B. Navinne. Mr. Herath was pronounced dead on arrival at the Wariyapola Hospital, and the body has been sent to the Kurunegala Consultant JMO Dr. H.M.K. Senanayake for the postmortem. According to Dr. Senanayake, the postmortem has been concluded, and the cause of death has been established as damage to the spinal chord as a result of a blow to the back of the neck. He added that the body also contained 7 bruises.
According to eyewitness information received by Dr. Senanayake, the assailants attacked the group, during which one person fell to the ground, and the assailants fled the scene subsequently. The fact that Mr. Herath had passed away was noted only while taking him to the hospital.
According to SI M.G. Thilakarathne of the Wariyapola Police, 5 suspects have been arrested in relation to the above incident, and they have been identified by the other victims to the assault. SI Thilakarathne stated that investigations are currently underway, but refused to furnish any further information.
According to Mr. Manjula Bandara, while Mr. Herath and others were pasting posters of General Fonseka in the Wariyapola Ambakadawara area, a group of approximately 15 UPFA supporters of Mr. Navinne had arrived on 7 motorbikes, and assaulted Mr. Herath and others.
When contacted, Minister Navinne told CMEV that he was aware of the incident, stating that a clash had taken place between the two parties, and that persons were injured. He was also aware of Mr. Herath’s death, but stated that he had no knowledge of the details of the incident.
Grievous Hurt in Matale
According to the CMEV monitor, at approximately 3.30am, the home of Dambulla Pradeshiya Sabha member Mr. A.V. Rupasinghe was attacked by 4 persons who had their faces covered, who cut Mr. Rupasinghe on either side of his neck, chest and left upper arm, using swords.
According to Duty Officer Sergeant Thissa Bandara of the Dambulla Hospital Police Post, the cut to Mr. Rupasinghe’s left arm has resulted in a nerve being cut, and therefore Mr. Rupasinghe has been transferred to the Kandy Hospital for specialist treatment.
When contacted, OIC Elections Branch of the Seegiriya Police IP Kulathunga told CMEV that they had obtained a statement from Mr. Rupasinghe, in which he said that he was struck by flat iron bars, as opposed to by swords as stated by the wife. A complaint has been lodged in this regard bearing the number EIB 20/25.
According to Mrs. Rupasinghe the assailants had broken in through the back door, held a sword to her neck and threatened to kill her if she screams. They then proceeded indoors in search of Mr. Rupasinghe. She confirmed that they were also carrying iron bars. She added that Mr. Rupasinghe has cuts on his face, arm, neck and legs. She said that while the doctors have told her that his condition is not serious, he is due to be taken in for surgery regarding the cut to a nerve in the arm, at approximately 4.30pm.
The CMEV monitor had received information that the attack may have resulted from an intra party issue. Mrs. Rupasinghe told CMEV that while this may be a possibility, she had no knowledge regarding the matter. She added that Mr. Rupasinghe is however working for Attorney at Law Mr. Lakshaman Perera, who is one of 4 UPFA District Organizers for Matale.
Shooting in Matale
According to the CMEV monitor, on 16th of January, between 10.30pm and 11.00pm, the home of Matale Urban Councilor Mr. Roshan De Silva was shot at by unidentified persons who arrived in a vehicle, and fired several shots in the direction of the upper floor of the house. The Matale Police had arrived on the scene at approximately 11.00pm in response to a 119 call.
When contacted, OIC of the Crimes Branch IP Jayampathi told CMEV that an investigation was conducted around the Matale town based on the description of the vehicle, but no arrests have been made so far due to a lack of adequate information.
As of 14th January 2010, CMEV has confirmed a cumulative total of 619 incidents of election related violence of which 275 incidents have been categorized as Major. Of these, 3 incidents are Murders, 5 are Attempted Murders, 74 are Assault, 78 are Threat and Intimidation, 27 are Grievous Hurts, 31 are Hurts, 35 are cases of Misuse of State Resources and 11 are Robberies, and 11 are Arsons. The total number of incidents involving the use of firearms is 89. In addition, 344 incidents have been categorized as Minor.
All CMEV reports and communiqués and the CMEV Incidents Google Map can be accessed online at http://cmev.wordpress.com
CMEV was formed in 1997 by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Free Media Movement (FMM) and the Coalition against Political Violence as an independent and nonpartisan organization to monitor the incidence of election related violence. Currently, CMEV is made up of CPA, FMM and INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre.