LTTE coin, commemorative, not for circulation. From Lakdiva
In Sri Lanka over 750,000 citizens were denied the vote. It was not a ‘boycott’ as the BBC and all the media are reporting, that’s just how the LTTE has successfully framed it. It was voter intimidation, plain and simple. Those people voluntarily registered to vote. It’s a pain in the ass and they did that. Up until the day of the election the LTTE said people would be allowed to vote freely, but on the day of the election they secretively raised black flags. To go and vote you would have to take your life in your hands and walk past armed guards at checkpoints. People didn’t. That is not a boycott, that is voter intimidation. The LTTE is an armed terrorist group and they intimidated voters, the voters did not gather and boycott. How could they? It was an internal party decision taken that very day. They intimidated and disenfranchised over 750,000 Sri Lankans and no one cares.
I’ve included the voting figures for the Jaffna District here (from Lanka Newspapers)
|District||UNP Votes||SLFP Vote||Other||Valid Votes||Registered|
As you can see, only 0.006% of registered voters had the courage to go out and vote. This was not a ‘Tamil Boycott’ as reported in the media, it was black flags and fires ordered by the LTTE. There was no discussion with the Tamil people, it was a decision taken that day, enforcable by death. To act like that is a boycott is bullshit, but the BBC and others have reported that line wholesale. Colombo and upcountry Tamils voted in large numbers, because armed men weren’t standing between them and the polling booth. It was intimidation plain and simple, and those Sri Lankans were disenfranchised.
What is more odd is that you hear nary a peep from the Southern extremist who go on about a ‘United Sri Lanka’. What Mahinda has now won is a divided Sri Lanka. The people in the North didn’t get to vote. To act like these are free and fair elections is to almost acknowledge that the North isn’t part of Sri Lanka. 750,000 people were intimidated out of voting. That is not free and fair. What Mahinda has won is a divided Sri Lanka.
If elections had been free and fair in the North, judging by the above figures and previous polling, the UNP would have gathered a lead of more than 200,000 votes, thus winning (in the above they were prefered 3 to 1). In this way, the LTTE has decisively interfered in a Sri Lankan democratic election – for the third time. In 1994 they assassinated the UNP candidate Gamini Dissanayake. That tossed the election to Chandrika, thus controlling the result. In 1999 they failed to assassinate Chandrika Banadaranaike Kumaratunga and her powerful speech directly after swung public sympathies, as she was a picture of strength. This is not including all the assassinations of sitting Presidents and Prime Ministers, like Premadasa and the Indian PM, Rajiv Gandhi. In this election, they have simply left the candidates alone and disenfranchised the northern Tamils altogether.
The fact that there is no uproar about the disenfranchisement of the entire North means that Mahinda and the JVP have chosen raw power over a united Sri Lanka. The fact that the international media has swallowed the LTTE line is even more scary. The LTTE, by the way, is unelected and has killed off all the independent Tamil opposition. This election means that we are a whole lot closer to a facist Eelam than before this election. Not because the LTTE intimidated voters, but because nobody in Sri Lanka seemed to notice. It’s like it happened in another country.
Update: Tamiliana has more details:
While posters and leaflets calling for a boycott were widely circulated a systematic campaign of violence and terror also commenced prior to the poll. A series of explosions took place. In Jaffna grenades were thrown at five EPDP party offices on the eve of polls. Grenades and bombs were also thrown at Police patrols, army sentry posts, vehicles etc. A youth was tortured and beaten to death publicly at the Hindu College grounds. In Batticaloa a sub – post mistress who allegedly refused to hand over polling cards was brutally hacked to death..A climate of terror prevailed.
This terror continued from the early hours of the morning on election day. Bombs were thrown at Govt offices, polling booths, security posts and vehicles. Tyres and palm fronds were set on fire at key junctions and roads. Roadblocks were set up.Youths roamed streets looking out for potential voters. The LTTE motor cycle squad patrolled roads. People on the roads were threatened. Many old people going out to vote were assaulted. Vehicles including buses were stoned or set on fire. Civilian voters and officials were injured in deliberate grenade attacks on polling stations. A few people returning after voting were set upon. One man had his inked finger cut off. The message was unmistakably clear – Dont vote.
This was not a boycott. It was intimidation and disenfranchisement by a terrorist group, and it is being completely ignored by both the local media and the Mahinda campaign. The LTTE has offered Sri Lanka a Faustian bargain – give up the people of the North in exchange for power and silence. Mahinda took the deal and divided the country.