Aug 26, Colombo: Gunmen travelling in Defender Jeeps have opened fire on campaign workers of Sri Lanka's Marxist party Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) in Moneragala district of Uva Province in two separate occasions last night, the election watchdog, Campaign for Free & Fair elections (CaFFE) reported.
According to CaFFE, the supporters of a ruling party politician, Badalkumbura Pradeshiya Sabha deputy chairman have earlier attempted to assault JVP members who were preparing the stage for an election meeting which will be conducted today with the participation of JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
The ruling party supporters armed with clubs have warned the JVP members not to set up the stage and switched off the street lamps in the area making it difficult for them to prepare the stage.
A confrontation ensued between the two groups has injured two ruling party supporters of the Pradeshiya Sabha deputy chairman and later a group of men armed with guns had returned and opened fire at the JVP supporters who continued working on the stage after a lodging a complaint at the police.
A group of men in Defender Jeeps arrived at the scene and started shooting at the JVP members who fled the scene leaving behind their three-wheelers and motor cycles. While the JVP members were fleeing four Defender Jeeps arrived from Moneragala and started shooting at the fleeing JVP members who ran into the forest, the CaFFE reported.
At around the same time three JVP offices have been destroyed and shots have been fired at the houses of JVPers SN Sendeera (Hulandawa, Moneragala,) PGV Wijesiri (Kumbukkana,) and MK Somaratne (Depot Road, Moneragala) .
In the last few days JVP offices and supporters were attacked at Madalla, Moneragala, Bibile, Thanamalwila, Sewanagala, Buttala, Kataragama and Badalkumbura, CaFFE reports.
According to reports received by CaFFE, in the 72 hours that ended on 6 am today (26) the election monitor has received information that 21 offices of United National Party (UNP,) JVP and Democratic Party (DP) have been attacked.
Predicting that the situation will become more violent due to the deteriorating law and order situation in Moneragala district, the election monitor urged the election authorities and police to take immediate steps to enforce election laws.
"We hope that the relevant authorities will take appropriate action at least now to enforce election laws in Moneragala," the CaFFE said.