|Saturday, 24 January 2004|
Parties that respect democracy must not tolerate political violence: PAFFREL
Reports reaching PAFFREL from its members in various parts of the country point to an increase in the level of politically motivated violence over the past several weeks.
"We are concerned that this violence can spread as the date for provincial elections nears.
The inability of the President and Prime Minister to reach a negotiated settlement of their power sharing dispute has led to a perception that the country is heading for bitterly contested general elections also.
This is having a negative impact upon the rank and file of their party members," The People's Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL), said in a release on Thursday.
The release added: "PAFFREL is especially concerned about the sharp rise in the level of violence that took place in the day prior to the signing of the alliance agreement between the PA and JVP.
In Puttalam several people have been reported killed, and in Nikeweratiya, Mawategama, Panadura, Walapane, Kataragama and Embilitpitiya serious instances of violence and injury to people have been reported.
Entering into new alliances or leaving them is part and parcel of democratic politics. Parties that respect democracy should not permit their members to resort to violence to either promote or impede the formation of such political alliances.
PAFFREL calls on the leaders of the political parties, and especially the UNP, PA and JVP to enforce discipline within their own party ranks and ensure that the resort to violence will be met by strict punitive actions."
Produced by Lake House