The removal of over 7,000 voters from the Northern Province's electoral list is a "Violation of a basic human right," claimed Member of Parliament Rishad Bathiudeen, in a letter to Sri Lanka's election commission this week.
The All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader wrote to the Elections Commission, condemning the “unjust” act of removing the names of 7,727 residents originally from the Northern District and demanded that necessary steps be taken to register the individuals in their native electoral lists.
Bathiudeen indicated that although many individuals displaced by the armed conflict had since been resettled in their home towns, many have been temporarily relocated to Puttalam due to inadequate infrastructure development. Bathiudeen argued that individuals registered in the Northern Province were able to vote in Puttalam in previous elections, and demanded that the same be done going forward.
During the parliamentary elections in August 2020, provisions were made for over 6,000 Mannar residents to vote in Puttalam.
Bathiudeen was arrested last year accused of transporting internally displaced persons in 222 Ceylon Transport Board (government-owned) buses from Puttalam to Mannar to cast their votes during the 2019 Presidential election, as well as an alleged violation of Election Laws and Criminal Misappropriation of Public Funds; with state council Nishara Jayaratne claiming there is sufficient evidence Bathiudeen committed criminal misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs. 9.5 Million.
However, Bathiudeen claimed the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is maliciously attempting to arrest him and that he has no connection to the incident in question.
See the full text of his letter below.