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Lakhs of Tamils may not vote in Lanka poll

[Express Buzz, Sunday, 20 December 2009 21:14 One Comment]

Lakhs of Tamils of North Sri Lanka may not vote in the January 26 Presidential election partly on account of the lack of the appropriate identity card or partly on account of a lack of interest in the election, given the trauma they had gone through during the war, and as refugees in camps ringed by barbed wire.

Official estimates of the number of Tamil refugees who had registered to vote by filling the appropriate form, vary between 5,000 and 10,000. This is a minuscule part of the total refugee voting population of 200,000.

“We have distributed application forms to the refugees in the camps and have instructed the local authorities to distribute them among the refugees not resident in the camps. But so far, only about 10,000 have filled in the form,” said Mrs.P.S.M.Charles ,Government Agent of Vavuniya district, which has the largest number of camp refugees.

“All we can do is to distribute the forms.We cannot force them to fill them in,” she told Express on Sunday.

The Sunday Times reported that local officials in the North were moving in the matter slowly, though the Commissioner of Elections had said that temporary ID cards must be issued by December 24.

The work in Sinhalese-dominated south Sri Lanka, on the other hand, has been going on at a very fast pace. In order to speed  up the process, the government had ordered the Agriculture Deparment officials to issue 1.5 million temporary cards, though as per law only the Grama Niladharis could do it. The new proceedure has been objected to by the opposition camp led by Gen.Sarath Fonseka.

The reason behind the slow pace in the Tamil-speaking North and the fast pace in the Sinhalese-speaking south seems to be that the government is not sure of getting the votes of the Northern Tamils and the war refugees, while it has a sporting chance in the Sinhalese south.

Reports from the North say that the Tamils there are not interested in the elections, since both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gen.Sarath Fonseka are identified as hard core Sinhalese nationalists. However, of the two, Fonseka is seen in a slightly more favourable light because he is backed by the peacenik United National Party leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“The voting percentage in Jaffna district may not exceed 13 per cent this time,” said a Jaffna-based scribe.

In the last election in November 2005, it was 1.2 percent because the LTTE had urged a boycott.

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One Comment »

  • Denver DUI Lawyer said:

    Tamils may not give votes to the Sri lankas elections because Tamils are against Srilankan and they are fighting against Sri Lankan for many years then how they can do it.