Lankan poll violence escalates

Lankan poll violence escalates

A police officer inspects the site of an attack at the home of Tiran Alles, a supporter of opposition presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka, in Colombo on Friday. AP

The blast severely damaged the house of businessman and opposition member Tiran Alles in the Western Province and destroyed his car parked in the compound.
But Alles and his family members escape unhurt.

The house of Alles, who is the general secretary of the SLFP Mahajana wing, caught fire after the attack. Fire brigade was called in to douse the flames, the Daily Mirror Online reported.

“The attackers are believed to have come in a van and carried out the attack and fled,” a police official at the scene said.

Expressing concern over the escalating poll violence in the run up to the January 26 presidential elections in Sri Lanka, US has warned this could reverse the good image the nation has started building after the end of the civil war in May last year.

“Of course everybody is focused on the upcoming (presidential) elections. What is concerning us is that the escalating violence which has no place in a democratic process,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Patricia A Butenis said.

“The international image of Sri Lanka is just beginning to change from a land were it is all danger and conflict to one where it is a great country where may be we can do business,” she said.

“This election violence threatens that improvement. It is a step backward for Sri Lanka. And once the election is over, I would urge everybody to focus on the hard work of good governance,” the US Ambassador said in an interview.

She said the Sri Lankan election commissioner’s mandates or orders need to be enforced and the “people need to have the right atmosphere to be able to exercise their franchise.”

US is a friend of Sri Lanka and its democracy, she told the Private TV channel “Newsfirst”, adding: “So we are watching from that respect. We have given some support to organisations that are promoting voter registration and voting.”

Rejecting accusations that Washington was giving financial assistance to Opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka, Butenis said: “It is completely false. We are neutral and some people perhaps find it hard to accept but it is true.”

“We will work with whoever wins this democratic elections. Regardless of who it is and hope to look forward from here. We are not supporting any candidate. I don’t know from where that came from,” she added.

PTI

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