Police to manage polls security with STF, CDF backing

Minimal military role in case of emergency



By Shamindra Ferdinando


Police have formally sought the deployment of the military in their support at the August 17 parliamentary polls though actual troops deployment is unlikely.


A high ranking military officer told The Island that the troops could rapidly intervene in support of law enforcement officers in any part of the country if required.


However, in accordance with current assessment, the police could ensure countrywide security with minimal assistance from the military, the official said.


According to him, there is provision for the military to take over security at places usually guarded by the police to facilitate law enforcement personnel for polls related security duties.


Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Kolitha Gunatilleke and Army Chief Lt. Gen. Crishanthe de Silva yesterday told The Island that polling would take place in a peaceful environment.


A senior security official said that since the conclusion of the conflict in May, 2009, the deployment of the military during national level elections had been gradually reduced.


The capacity of the police to handle the situation on their own, particularly in former war-torn areas would be a tremendous boost to Sri Lanka’s image, he said.


TULF leader V. Anandasangaree told The Island that the electorate expected a peaceful environment during the next couple of days as well as on the polling day. The veteran politician who is contesting from the Colombo District said that rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres fielding two groups of independent candidates in Jaffna and Vanni electoral districts was a sign of near normalcy.


Anandasangaree said that he expected a trouble-free election.


Meanwhile, Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne, in charge of the Election Secretariat, has requested the Civil Defence Force (CDF) to release over 7,000 personnel for deployment in support of the police. The CDF would be deployed to provide security at polling booths, man road blocks and conduct mobile patrols in accordance with overall security plan, a senior official said.


Military sources said that the police and the CDF would be able to manage polls security.


A senior official at Special Task Force (STF) headquarters yesterday said commandos would be deployed in support of the police in some areas, including Nugegoda, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Tangalle. The STF deployment, too, was in line with the overall strategy to meet any eventuality. The official said that the STF would take up position only on the instructions issued by the IGP.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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