(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Police personnel have been given the authority to shoot if a person or group attempts to loot votes at a polling station during the elections Police Media Spokesperson Superintendent of Police Ruwan Gunasekara said.
Police have been issued with such powers under the Articles 93 and 96 of the Elections Ordinance and under the 92 (4) subsection of the Act, the power to use lethal force has been given to every police officer Police Media Spokesperson said
He said this does not suggest that Police can simply shoot a person. However, the police can use force required even up to the point of killing a person in instances where a person or a group attempts to loot ballots or engages in a serious confrontation or an attack on voters.
Speaking at a media briefing at the Police Headquarters yesterday, the Spokesperson said two police officers with firearms will be deployed at each polling station for the local government polls to be held on the 10th February. In addition to duties at election centers, police will also be deployed on security duty on that day.
The Police will be at the polling stations to ensure a peaceful atmosphere for the voters to exercise their franchise freely, he said. The police have been empowered to take action to get rid of the persons who disrupts the situation, he added.
The Spokesperson said the police have been advised to strictly follow election laws at this election. The Police Headquarters has issued a booklet to all Police stations bearing instructions and guidelines in terms of all Police duties. The booklet which will be distributed within the next few days is printed in all three languages and it provides all the regulations and advice required to be followed by Police personnel with regard to the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, 42 candidates who violated election laws have been arrested since the day the election was announced and except for one candidate others have been released on bail, he said.
The police have received 543 election related complaints and 133 of them were election law violations.