Rishad writes to HRCSL, laments Voters Register being tampered with
By Naalir Jamaldeen
All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader MP Rishad Bathiudeen has lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) over the removal of 7,727 voters’ names from the Mannar Voters Register.
Bathiudeen has already sent a letter to the HRCSL on 15 January in this regard.
The Election Commission granted permission to people living in the Puttalam District when they were displaced from the Mannar District to cast their votes through the cluster system in their District at the concluded General Election.
Bathiudeen alleged that Assistant Commissioner of Election, Mannar and officials have deliberately removed the names of most of the voters from the Voters Register and thus requested the Commission that those whose names have been removed from the Voters’ Register must be granted permission to cast their votes in their own villages.
Bathiudeen stated in his complaint to the Election Commission that these people who have returned to their homelands for resettlement after setting up temporary accommodation in their native lands have temporarily returned to Puttalam due to the shortage of education and healthcare facilities and opportunities for business in their resettled areas.
He noted that those who are temporarily staying in Puttalam were waiting to return to their former places, once facilities are developed and added that removing their names from the Voters Register was a violation of their fundamental rights.
He lamented that those whose names have been removed from the Voters Register have no voting rights in any District in the country.
Bathiudeen noted in his complaint that having houses in other Districts does not deter voters from being registered as voters in their constituency and cannot be changed. He claimed that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who lives in Colombo and casts his vote in Medamulana.
Even former Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Maithripala Sirisena cast their votes in Attanagalla and Polonnaruwa respectively and said why can’t innocent people in Puttalam be given the same opportunity.
So the 7,727 people whose names have been removed from the voters register must be given permission to cast their votes in their own district registering in the voters register.
Bathiudeen has stated in his complaint that steps must be taken to grant permission to 2,618 persons in the Mannar Urban Council limits, 3,453 Musali Pradeshiya Sabha, 1,217 Nanattan Pradeshiya Sabha and Mannar Pradeshiya Sabha 342 whose names have been removed from the voters register must be registered again and be given opportunity to cast votes in their own regions.