Stray incidents of violence left seven people, including a 10-year-old boy, dead and scores others injured during the second phase of Union Parishad elections across the country on Thursday.
Three of them were killed in Sandwip upazila of Chittagong, the 10-year-old boy was killed in Keraniganj upazila, Dhaka, a Dhaka University student was killed in Madaripur and one person each in Jamalpur and Jessore.
Apart from this, a journalist was also suffered a bullet wound at Rajapur union in Bhola Sadar.
The voting was held in 639 union parishads under 82 upazilas from 8:00am to 4:00pm without any break. The battle of ballot held on partisan basis for the first time was punctuated by vote rigging and capturing of centres.
Following violence and irregularities, the Election Commission suspended voting to 33 polling centres in various unions.
At Char Bauria union in Sandwip upazila, three people were killed and several others, including a police constable, were injured in firing during a clash between the supporters of ruling Awami League candidate and the party’s rebel candidate.
The deceased were identified as Ibrahim, 30, Sanaullah, 45, and Mohammad Jamal, 35.
At the fag end of the voting, supporters of AL candidate Md Jamal Uddin and rebel candidate Zillur Rahman were locked in a clash over taking control of a polling centre at Char Bauria Government Primary School and attempted looting of ballot boxes at around 3:30pm, sources said. The feuding groups opened fire, leaving a number of people injured. Police also tried to quell them by opening fire, said the sources.
Of the injured, bullet-hit Ibrahim and Sanaullah died on the spot while Jamal died on the way to hospital, said Additional Superintendent of Police (Special Branch) Abdul Awal.
Injured Constable Md Al Amin with bullet wound under his knee was sent to Chittagong Medical College Hospital (CMCH).
Meanwhile, house of another AL candidate of Harishpur union under the upazila was attacked by supporters of another candidate, leaving five people, including the candidate, injured.
Candidate Abdul Hannan Rana, 62, alleged that supporters of Jatiya Party candidate Abdus Salam made the attack with firearms and sharp weapons.
Meanwhile, BNP-backed candidates boycotted election at all the 30 union parishads under three upazilas of Sitakunda, Mirsarai and offshore Sandwip in Chittagong district.
BNP Chittagong north district unit Convener Aslam Chowdhury made the announcement of boycott at Faujderhat under Sitakunda upazila in the afternoon, bringing allegation of capture of poling centres, attacks, driving out of polling agents by ruling Awami League candidates and inaction of the administration.
He demanded re-polling in the 30 UPs — nine under each of Mirsarai and Sitakunda upazilas and 12 under Sandwip upazila.
In Keraniganj upazila, Dhaka, 10-year-old Shuva, son of Halim of Dhalikandi village, was killed as he received stray bullets during a gunfight outside a polling centre at Hazratpur Union at around 10:30am.
Quoting witnesses, police said two groups of BNP supporters and Awami League supporters were locked into a clash over capturing of Madhurchar Govt Primary School polling station.
In Jessore, a 60-year-old man was shot dead during a clash between the supporters of two candidates at Chanchara union under Sadar upazila.
Officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station Elias Hossain said the supporters of AL-nominated and AL-rebel candidates clashed at Bhaturia Government Primary School polling centre at around 11:00am, reports UNB.
Both the groups opened fire at each other, leaving Golap Hossain dead on the spot and two others injured.
In Jamalpur: A man died during a clash between the supporters of two rival Union Parishad (UP) member candidates in Malandaha Upazila.
The incident took place outside the Uttar Balurchar centre at Shyampur, said Superintendent of Police Nizam Uddin. Rakibul Islam, aged around 35, died of a cardiac arrest, police claimed.
Meanwhile, voters at a polling centre at Melandaho Upazila’s Nayannagar Union demonstrated against alleged malpractices, forcing officials to suspend voting.
Voter started to agitate inside the centre alleging that the presiding officer was facilitating ballot stuffing by Awami League supporters, said Superintendent of Police Nizam Uddin.
“Police had to fire in the air to disperse the agitators as voting has been stopped at the centre,” he said.
Presiding Officer Abul Bashar, however, denied the allegations against him. “Voting has been stopped due to complaints of irregularities and voters’ agitations.”
In Jessore, a polling official and three others were arrested and polling has been suspended at a voting centre in Churamonkathi Union Parishad following clashes over rigging.
Four people, including an assistant presiding officer, have been arrested at the Churamonkathi Government Primary School centre, said Returning Officer Shahidul Islam. The polling official arrested has been identified as Abdullah Bin Akbar.
One man was injured in the incident and admitted to Jessore Sadar Hospital.
In Bhola, at least 20 people, including a journalist, were injured during a clash at Shadarpur union.
Both the major political camps, however, came up with conflicting statements about the polls.
The BNP brought allegations of vote rigging and capturing centres while the ruling camp termed the polls peaceful.
BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi told reporters that elections were held amid vote rigging and capturing of centres.
“The pro-government activists in association with the administration captured polling centers and cast false votes. Even the voters have been pushed out of the centres,” he said.
The BNP also issued a note of warning that it would boycott the next phases if such practice continues in the name of polls.
BNP joint secretary general Mohammad Shahjahan came up with the statement after a meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakib Uddin.
Dismissing the BNP’s claim, the ruling camp said the polls in no way can be termed faulty as people cast their votes spontaneously.
“Some irregularities took place in only 22 centres, out of over 6000 centres. So, it cannot be termed faulty. This election was free, fair and peaceful,” AL joint general secretary Mahbub Ul Alam Hanif told reporters.
source : the daily sun