Councillor-elect killed while celebrating victory | Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 17, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:32 PM, January 17, 2021

Councillor-elect killed while celebrating victory

Polls to municipalities marred by scattered violence, rules violations, boycott

Yesterday's municipal polls were marred by the killing of a councillor-elect and stray incidents of violence, irregularities and violation of electoral code.

BNP candidates boycotted the polls at a few places bringing allegation of irregularities against ruling Awami League men. 

Visiting different polling stations, Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukder said the election could not be termed "participatory".

"I visited 18 booths of 3 polling stations in Savar. I found BNP agents only at  three booths. Besides, I found no posters in the electoral area. It cannot be said that the election was participatory," he told journalists at his office yesterday.

However, Election Commission Senior Secretary M Alamgir said, "The overall election situation was good. Voters' presence was satisfactory. Miscreants tried to cause some stray incidents at some places, but law enforcers brought the situation under control quickly."

He came up with the remark while talking to journalists at his office after the election.

The secretary also assumed that some 60 to 70 percent votes were cast in yesterday elections.

The Election Commission has been holding the municipal polls in four phases due to the pandemic. Yesterday, 60 municipalities went to polls in the second phase.

In Sirajganj, Tarikul Islam, 45, was killed allegedly by his rivals when he was celebrating his victory last night. According to unofficial results, he was elected a councillor of ward-6 of Sirajganj municipality. 

Officer-in-charge (investigation) of Sirajganjh Sadar Police Station Md Golam Mostafa told The Daily Star that attackers stabbed him when he was celebrating his victory. He was rushed to a private hospital, where he died around 8:30pm.

Tarikul's supporters alleged he was killed by the men of his rival candidate.

In Savar, a journalist was verbally abused by ruling Awami League men when he was covering the election.

The victim, Sagor Farazi, Savar Correspondent of Banglanews24, said he went to Tangail Cadet Academy around 8:10am. When he was recording video with his cell phone, AL men snatched it and verbally abused him.

The Daily Star correspondent in Savar visited 10 polling stations in Savar municipal area and found no polling agents of the BNP-nominated mayoral candidate.

Talking to The Daily Star, Omor Faruk, a voter at a centre at Rajabari Government School, said the agents of the mayoral candidate with "Boat" symbol accompanied him to the secret voting room and forced him to cast vote for the symbol.

Several other voters in the polls echoed his statement.

In Pabna, BNP-nominated mayoral aspirant in Ishwardi municipality Rofikul Islam Nayan boycotted the election claiming that he was repeatedly attacked by AL men.

Besides, BNP's mayoral candidate of Santhia municipality Sirajul Islam Mollah allegedly came under attack by AL men at the Santhia Pilot School center.

Voters in many polling stations in Pabna alleged that they were openly forced to cast votes for the AL-nominated candidate.

"I went to cast vote at Boallmari madrasa centre. Then, some people forced me to cast vote for the 'boat' openly," said Abdur Rahim Sacchu, an elderly man of Boailmari village.

In Feni, five people, including an Ansar member, were injured in a crude bomb blast near Gonipur Government Primary School centre at around 10:00am when voting was going on in Dagonbhuiyan municipality.

Locals and police said the incident happened when chase and counter-chase was going on between the supporters of two councilor candidates.

In Gazipur, law enforcers kept an independent mayoral candidate, Shah Alam, of Sreepur municipality detained for around one and a half hours on charge of violating electoral code.

"While visiting some polling stations, he [Shah Alam] tried to enter the secret room at voting booth where only voters are allowed to enter," said Kazi Md. Istafizul Haque Akand, returning officer of the election.

In Tangail, some voters were allegedly forced to leave polling stations without casting votes in Dhanbari municipality, alleged BNP-nominated mayoral candidate SMA Sobhan and AL rebel candidate Moniruzzaman Bakul.

In Jhenidah, supporters of the AL-nominated mayor candidate attacked the rebel candidate yesterday noon when voting to Shailakupa municipality was going on at Jhaudia Government Primary School Centre.

The attackers also vandalised a car of the rebel candidate Toyebur Rahman.

In Rajshahi, BNP's mayoral candidate of Bhabaniganj Abdur Razzak Pramanik boycotted the election bringing allegations of irregularities against AL men.

In Moulvibazar, BNP-nominated mayoral aspirant of Kulaura municipality Kamal Ahmed Zuned was injured when chase and counter chase took place between AL and BNP supporters near Kulaura Girl High.

In Kushtia, a mobile court seized around 1,500 packets of Birayani, which was cooked for voters violating electoral code, and later distributed the food among orphans.

Locals said a councilor candidate of Kushtia municipality Rabiul Islam Robi cooked the food at Barkhada Government Boys Primary School polling station.

Violating electoral code, his supporters were distributing the food packets among the voters, who came to polling stations.

In Bogura, a former Chhatra league leader, who was acting as a polling agent of AL-nominated mayoral aspirant, was jailed for one year on charge of violating electoral code when voting was underway at Sariakandi municipality yesterday.

The convict is Shahadat Hossain, 30, former join-convener of the Sarikandi upazila Chatra league unit.

Meanwhile in Noakhali, elections to Basurhat municipality was held in a peaceful manner, though AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader's younger brother Abdul Quader Mirza previously repeatedly expressed his fear of vote rigging and violence.

"Voting is going on in a free and fair manner. Voters are casting votes in a festive mood," Mirza told journalists after casting his vote at Udayan Pre-Cadet Academy in the morning.

[Our correspondents from Savar, Pabna, Feni, Gazipur, Tangail, Jhenaidah, Rajshahi, Moulvibazar, Kushtia, Bogura and Noakhali contributed to the report]

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