TDN World Desk: Police said hours before Srilanka began voting to elect country’s new president, gunmen opened fire at the convoy of buses carrying Muslim voters, AFP reported. However, there are no reports of casualties.
News agency AFP cites a police officials who said, “At least two buses were hit, but we have no reports of casualties.”
Muslims from the coastal town of Puttalam were travelling to the neighbouring district of Mannar, where police and troops were locked in a tense as army blocked the road ahead of voting.
Police reported to the independent election commission that the army was illegally manning roadblocks that could discourage residents from freely travelling to polling booths.
Police officials reportedly rushed to the tensed spot and cleared the obstructions on the road. They escorted the convoy so passengers could cast their ballots.
One of three election commissioners, Ratnajeevan Hoole, accused the authorities for its failure to provide adequate protection to internally displaced minority Muslims in the multi-ethnic northwest.
“They (the Muslims) asked for polling booths in the areas where they are living without having to travel a long distance to their original village to vote,” Hoole said in a statement.
“They were sure that a disturbance like this would happen,” he said, adding that his pleas for protection were not considered by the election commission, which works through majority decisions.