Statement on the Incident at Polonnaruwa and Reported Attack on Journalist

Jan 14, 2010, 13:06 ET from President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, January 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Government vehemently condemns the violent incidents at Polonnaruwa yesterday (January 13, 2010) including the reported attack on a local BBC correspondent.

It will not tolerate any acts of violence against civilians, politicians, local and international observers and journalists in the current situation. Action has already been taken to apprehend those responsible for this violence and the attack on the journalist, and make them face the full force of the law.

The Government will not allow anything to undermine this historic election, the first since the end of a quarter of a century of organized terrorism in Sri Lanka - under which free and fair elections were regularly obstructed - and the people in all areas of the country now have the freedom to participate in the electoral process.

With regard to the incident at Tangalle on January 12, 2010, two persons have already been arrested by the Police, and further investigations are proceeding.

Contrary to media and other reports, there is increasing evidence that the victim in this incident of violence was a strong supporter of the President, and not of any other candidate in this election. The authorities concerned have not yet concluded that this was a politically motivated or election related incident.

The Government is committed to ensuring that violence will not triumph, and is taking every step possible to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

SOURCE President Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka