UPFA candidate assaulted;  police missing in action

By Madura Ranwala

UPFA candidate contesting the forthcoming Parliamentary election, Priyantha Atukorala, had been assaulted, his cut-out in front of his campaign office destroyed and his vehicle damaged by UNP Opposition Leader of the Kalawana Pradeshiya Sabha, Janaka Molligoda, the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) said yesterday. The assailant had also shot into the air, the polls monitors said.

 The CMEV told The Island that the police had so far failed to make any arrest regarding the incident, but three police officers including the OIC of Kalawana Police Station had been interdicted for dereliction of duty.

The incident occurred on Tuesday (14) night.

 The CMEV spokesman said "The unrest had begun when Athukorala, who was informed about the destruction of his cut out placed in front of his temporary campaign office, arrived at the scene at around 10 pm. Then Molligoda and his supporters had assaulted the UPFA candidate and his supporters, fired into the air and caused damage to his vehicle. A complaint has been lodged with the Kalawana police under  the entry No: CIB-02."

 Police spokesman said, "The OIC, a Sergeant and Constable of the Kalawana Police Station have been interdicted after a preliminary investigation. They had not taken steps to curb violence."

Separate investigations were being conducted into the complaint and the police officers, he said.

Asked whether the police had been able to recover the weapon used to shoot into the air and taken into custody any suspect, the Police Spokesman answered in the negative.

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