A sad story about election violence in Sri Lanka

Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe

A victim of election violence, Sri Lanka

Who is the lady in this picture? What has happened to her? Please go through this article until the end to find out what has happened to her. It is worth to read this history of the incident.

Sri Lanka has made progress after passing though several periods under election violence. It was reported that the United National Party (UNP) which came to power in 1977 gave vacation to Police for several days. Despite the authenticity of this information, it is a fact that UNP supporters attacked the followers of the opposition, looted and set fire to their houses.

All elections held from 1997 before the 1994 presidential held under the leadership of president D. B. Wijethunga were highly corrupt. There were plenty of instances of vote rigging, threats, murders and attacks against the candidates and voters. Thugs, brought down to Jaffna from south during District Development Council election, set fire to Jaffna library in 1981.

Provincial Council election in 1988 and presidential election in 1989 became bloodshed in view of boycott by JVP, corruptions by ruling party and violence by both parties. Not only the candidates but also the voters, some who casted vote first, were killed. Polling booths were attacked. Ruling party rigged voting openly and in mega scale.

Former Minister Lalith Athulathmudali and President R. Premadasa were assassinated during the Provincial Council election in 1993. 

LTTE assassinated Gamini Dissanayake, the presidential candidate of the UNP during 1994 presidential election. Many other people also were killed in this incident and the previously mentioned incidents.

Sinhala Tamil English Translations and Content Writing

1994 General election could not be held in Jaffna District, which was then under the control of LTTE. Elam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) of Douglas Devananda contested as an independent group and won nine electorates in Jaffna district obtaining slightly more than 10,000 votes. Majority of such votes were casted from islands under control of government forces. Some elected EPDP members had obtained less than ten preferential votes.  

Due to a suicide attack of the LTTE targeted Chadrika Bandaranaike Kumaranathunga at the final rally during 2000 presidential election, Chandrika lost one eye, which impacted on the final result for her to win. 

The government which came to power under the leadership of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranathuga in 1994 continued election violence. Wayamba provincial council election in 1999 recorded the highest forms of election violence in the history. Thugs of the ruling party stripped a woman in public and tortured her in daylight.

The security staff of Anuruddha Ratwatte slaughtered ten Muslim youths at Udathalawinna in Kandy District during the general election held on December 05, 2001. Subsequently, all accused were acquitted after lengthy trial.  

LTTE was criticized for their undue influence over the electors at the general election held in April 2004. Tamil National Alliance with the support of the LTTE recorded a massive victory in north and east in that election.  

Duminda Silva, a close associate of then the Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, and his gang killed several members of their own party including a trade union coordinator of President Mahinda Rajapakse, Bharatha Laksman Premachandra on October 08, 2011 during the local government election.

Premalal Jayasekera, Member of Parliament and a close aide of Mahinda Rajapakse was accused of assassinating a supporter of Maithripala Sirisena during presidential election in 2015.

After 2015, election violence has been reduced to a major extent. Number of elections held under this government was also low, literally.  

You should read the story of the lady in the above picture. She is Sujeewa Aththanayake from Anamaduwa. She and her husband were ardent supporters of UNP. Picture shows the injuries to her, due to a bomb attack by the thugs who supported D. M. Dassanayake during 1994 general election.

Do you know the most pathetic scenario? They had gone to the temple to save their life from thugs. Their daughter attended age at the temple. The chief incumbent of the temple asked them to go back home in that context. They returned home with fear.

The daughter at her menarche felt a nature’s call in the night. Mother accompanied her to the toilet located outside the house and stayed there for her protection. The bomb was thrown at them at that instance.

The little girl was killed by the bomb explosion.

Whoever wins, please reject election violence in future elections. Be sensible to safeguard the changes achieved after 2015.

Read in Sinhala>>

Translated by Rajendra Wijesinghe

One thought on “A sad story about election violence in Sri Lanka

  1. I remember very well what happened soon after the General Elections in 1977 . The UNP thugs set fire , destroyed , damaged to tens of thousands of houses in most parts of the island Thousands of activities of the SLFP were assaulted ,Hundreds, if not thousands of anti UNP employees were sacked from their jobs May be some were killed .
    The police were not officially given leave but during the pre elections period some UNP leaders said they would give leave to the police for a week . During the post elections period the police looked the other way when the anti UNPers were being attacked .As far as I remember The UNP government did not give compensations to the victims . They were given some relief only when Chandrika came to power .
    The very same happened when Ranil came to power in 2002.At some places anti UNPers were attacked by the UNP thugs. I was informed that thugs led by A UNP MP in Ingiriya set fire to a number of houses there .I immediately informed the Horana SLFP organizer (Wikramanayake; son) of what was happening, His answer was that he couldn’t intervene as it may exacerbate the situation .

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