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Tight security for polls

On duty: 58,700 policemen, 19,500 Security Forces personnel:

Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya yesterday said that he would deploy 58,700 police personnel for election duties. In addition another 19,500 personnel from the three forces, Army, Air Force and Navy - will also assist the police during the April 8 elections and the post election period.

The IGP addressing the media yesterday morning at the Police Headquarters said that 7,620 candidates are contesting in the forthcoming general elections.

The Police are geared to face any situation during and after the elections, the IGP added. “Our main aim is to maintain law and order during the election period. To achieve this objective the police need the maximum assistance of the candidates and the public,” the IGP said.

The IGP emphasised that he had directed the Senior DIGs and DIGs of the nine provinces to advise their respective Officers in Charge of the Police Stations to remove all cut-outs and hoardings before April 5 midnight.

Each candidate will be allowed to have their political office within a 500 meter zone from the polling-booth. Maximum security will also be provided for postal employees to distribute polling cards during the week days and on Sundays, the IGP added. The Police also will have 2,584 mobile units on patrol round the clock on the election day. Three policemen and two personnel from the forces, forming one unit, to ensure maximum security for the voters, the IGP said.

Candidates from 36 political parties and 306 Independent Groups are contesting at the forthcoming general elections. The IGP said candidates will be allowed to remove their cut-outs on their own. Otherwise the police will have to deploy men to remove these cut-outs, the IGP said.

The IGP made these directions on a directive by the Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake that all the cut-outs, hoardings and the posters should be removed forthwith.

Senior DIG Gamini Navaratne who is in charge of the Police Elections Secretariat will be tasked to ensure the IGP’s directions are complied with.

The IGP also said that Senior Police officers should educate their staff about the existing election and traffic laws which should be applied when they are on election duty.

The IGP emphasised that Police personnel on election duty should be well versed with their responsibilities pertaining to elections duties. Senior DIG N.K. Ilangakoon said they have received 219 election complaints.

Investigations also revealed that the police have arrested 174 suspects and produced them before Courts. Out of 219 complaints 161 complaints had been completed. 57 complaints are to be completed.

There were only five major incidents reported, out of 219 complaints 24 complaints from Batticaloa, 20 from Kandy, 13 from Matale, 12 from Kantale.

The police have received less than ten complaints from the other places, Senior DIG Ilangakoon said. The IGP recently interdicted eight OICs and sent two Senior Police Officers on compulsory leave on a direction by the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

They alleged to have violated the election laws during the Presidential elections. Recently the Attorney General PC Mohan Peiris told the Supreme Court that the Inspector General of Police has decided to provide security for candidates who are either party leaders or general secretaries and all Ex-MPs.



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