|Hakeem predicts blood bath in Kandy
He said that election violence in Kandy was likely to be three or four times as much as at last years general election. "There is a concentrated effort to deprive representation to the minorities" he claimed, at a press conference last afternoon.
The SLMC is expecting a high incidence of violence and mass scale rigging in Muslim majority areas in Kandy and has informed the Kandy DIG of the situation.
He said that within the next forty eight hours the DIG must either take into custody or remove several bus loads of people who have been brought to Kandy and harboured in guest houses, posing a serious threat to free and fair elections in the district, tomorrow.
About 50 Landrovers carrying heavily armed men some wearing masks are hovering in the Kandy district, he added.
It is necessary for the police to conduct search operations well ahead of the election to apprehend underworld thugs who have been brought to Kandy.
"Last time I cried foul after the event, this time I want to cry foul before the event" he said.
Mr. Hakeem said that he hoped the Commissioner of Elections would exercise the powers vested in him where election rigging was concerned. The usual practice of the Elections Commissioner is to consider the overall impact of such a disturbance, but he must take into account the material impact on individual minority representatives.
Last year Special Task Force Personnel (STF) were assigned to provide security to the district but this year Anuruddha Ratwatte has encouraged hand picked supporters to ensure a PA victory by hook or by crook by assuring them that there will be no STF personnel to stop them, he alleged.
Deputy Defence Minister, Ratwattes supporters including his son Lohan were involved in an attack on some of his vehicles which were being used for election campaigning in Madawela on Sunday, Hakeem alleged. He added that PA candidates were singling him out, threatening voters and demanding them not to cast their votes for him.
"An overwhelming victory for the UNF is certain so they are hell bent on reducing the percentage of voters in the Muslim majority and Tamil plantation areas" he said.
He said that the violence could even lead to a communal clash after the elections. SLMC supporters in Batticaloa and Ampara are also facing intimidation he said.
He further claimed that the state media was trying to confuse voters by stating that relations between the SLMC and UNP were strained, because some UNP organisers in Ampara were refusing to contest under the tree symbol.
The UNP leader himself at a meeting in the area called upon all UNP supporters and organisers to vote for the tree symbol. "At national level both parties have respect for each other" he said.
Some party members may not comply with the leadership, but that is a matter over which leadership can take action after the election, he said. There is no question of our support to the UNP and continuing support as vibrant partners in a future UNP government he said.
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