COLOMBO: The government on Friday denied allegations that the local government elections to be held in the volatile eastern Batticaloa district would be affected by violence and dismissed an appeal by several non-governmental organisations to call off the polls.

“We will go ahead with the elections and take every measure to see that the polls are free of violent incidents,” a government official said shortly after the civil society organisations made a written appeal to call off the polls.

Seven Civil society organisations coming together as the Joint Civil Society, having visited the volatile north and east districts on a fact finding mission last week requested the government to call off the local government elections to be held on March 10.

They also called on the government to disarm all armed groups based in the East by confiscating their weapons.

A report prepared by the group said that the elections ‘seem to be about legitimising brutality through forced political authority and participation’, and pointed out that the common response of the people in Batticaloa is that ‘this election is not for us and not about us’.

“Their only request to candidates is ‘give me back my loved ones and I will vote for you’, the report said citing the opinion of civilians whose kith and kin have been allegedly abducted or ‘disappeared’ in the region where an armed LTTE break away faction supporting the government and contesting the elections has alleged free control.

Contradicting President Rajapakse’s statements that the army had ‘liberated’ the east from terrorism, the Joint Civil Society referring to the LTTE breakaway para military group, has stated that the ‘perpetrators of violence have sought to ‘legitimise their influence by entering mainstream politics while retaining their arms.’

The group’s plea to cancel the polls puts a damper on the claims made by the government of restoring democracy in the east.

Opinion

Coping with Covid perils
01 Aug 2021

Coping with Covid perils

Little accountability in countries such as India and Pakistan has meant whimsical decision-making.
A missing placard
Updated 01 Aug 2021

A missing placard

Scrutiny, protests, and swift police action are no guarantees of justice.
Urban flood risk
01 Aug 2021

Urban flood risk

Flood risk has been exacerbated by unchecked encroachments.
No woman’s land
Updated 31 Jul 2021

No woman’s land

We don’t just have violent men. We have a violent system.

Editorial

Necessary lockdown
Updated 01 Aug 2021

Necessary lockdown

AS the countrywide positivity ratio of Covid-19 infections crossed 8pc, Sindh imposed a nine-day lockdown effective...
01 Aug 2021

No Olympic glory

FOR about 30 minutes at the Tokyo Olympics weightlifting competition last week, Talha Talib remained in the podium...
01 Aug 2021

Preventable E-11 flooding

THE flooding on Wednesday in Islamabad’s E-11/2 sector is deserving of the shock it has spawned. The flouting of...
China-Taliban meeting
Updated 31 Jul 2021

China-Taliban meeting

WITH the government in Kabul appearing to stand on very fragile foundations, and as the clock ticks down to the ...
31 Jul 2021

Outages in Makran

IT is no surprise that people in Balochistan’s Makran Division have of late taken to the streets to protest in the...
31 Jul 2021

Reduction in polio cases

AFTER the long and tedious efforts of those running the national polio programme, there are signs that Pakistan ...