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Last updated: 04 January, 2010 - Published 13:07 GMT
 
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Election violence 'on the rise'
 
CaFFE
CaFFE says the campaign gets increasingly violent as the polls come closer
The campaign for the forthcoming election is getting increasingly violent as it intensifies, election monitors and campaign groups say.

There have been at least 24 violent incidents around the country during the 48 hours ending on Sunday, according to the Campaign for Free Fair Elections (CaFFE).

CaFFE media spokesman Keerthi Tennakoon told BBC Sandeshaya that the violence is increasing as a result of law enforcement agencies being partial to one presidential candidate.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his former military chief Gen Sarath Fonseka and 20 others are contesting at the 26 January presidential polls.

Commissioner's role

In a recent incident, supporters of both candidates have clashed in Kiribathgoda on Monday.

The campaign group Platform for Freedom has expressed alarm over the "ever increasing harassment" of supporters of opposition candidates.

 The arrest of Ven. Dambara Amila, especially after he has spoken at an opposition rally and the arrest by the STF of the UNP organiser for Suduwella Kithsiri Rajapakse are two glaring instances of attempts to victimize opposition supporters
 
Platform for Freedom

"The arrest of Ven. Dambara Amila, especially after he has spoken at an opposition rally and the arrest by the STF of the UNP organiser for Suduwella Kithsiri Rajapakse while he was engaged in election work are two glaring instances of attempts to victimize opposition supporters, " Dr. Nimalka Fernando, convener of the Platform for Freedom said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) has commended the election commissioner for taking prompt action to prevent a transfer of a senior police officer.

In a statement, TISL's Programme for Protection of Public Resources said the commissioner's action to prevent the transfer of Ampara SSP JR Jayawardana to Kilinochchi "enhances the integrity of the elections."

But the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) has criticised the Commissioner for not taking steps to appoint a competent authority for state media.

“The Commissioner has identified an individual to monitor media bias but has not appointed anyone as a Competent Authority vested with the powers that appointment entails,” the CMEV said in a statement.

 
 
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