Violence, irregularities mark municipal polls
The country’s maiden partisan local body polls ended amid reports of violence, clashes, irregularities, boycott of at least 19 candidates, and death of one person.
Voting was halted in 25 centres of 10 municipalities across the country, with the Election Commission suspending five police officers for negligence in duty.
At least 78 people were injured in clashes at different polling centres in 12 districts across the country since the beginning of the polls at 8:00am this morning.
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However, ruling Awami League claimed that apart from “few irregularities”, the voting was free and fair by large. On the other hand, BNP claimed of widespread rigging.
Voting was suspended in at least 25 centres of Chittagong, Comilla, Madaripur, Narail, Patuakhali, Feni, Narsingdi, Mymensingh, Narayanganj and Jamalpur districts.
Meanwhile, reports of violence came from Tangail, Chandpur, Pirojpur, Patuakhali, Narayanganj, Jamalpur, Pabna, Natore, Chittagong, Feni, Moulvibazar, Narsingdi and Mymensingh.
In Narayanganj’s Sonargaon municipility, at least 10 people including policemen were injured at GRU Institute in a clash between Awami League’s mayor and rebel candidate.
Sonargaon Police Station Officer-in-Charge Manzur Quader, who was injured in the clash, told The Daily Star the clash took place around 3:30am. Some crude bombs were blasted at scene.
In Tangail, Awami League mayoral and rebel candidates locked in a calsh at Ghatandi polling centre around 9:30am, our local correspondent reported from the spot.
Rebel candidate Tarikul Islam Chanchal and his polling agent Aminul Islam Babu were injured. They were taken to Tangail Medical College Hospital for treatment.
Ten others, including Bhuapur upazila parishad Vice-Chairman Shahinul Islam, was injured in clashes between two groups of ruling party supporters and later with BNP men at Bhuapur Model School polling centre.
In Chandpur’s Matlab municipality, at least seven people were injured in separate clashes between ruling party and BNP activists, our local correspondent reports quoting Returning Officer Farhana Islam.
Police fired 15 blank shots to bring the situation under control at Dakkhin Baishpur Government Primary School polling centre around 9:30am, injuring five.
In Pirojpur’s Swarupkathi municipality, three BNP agents were beaten up by ruling Awami League activists early today, our local correspondent reports.
BNP candidate Shafiqul Islam Farid told reporters he does not want to contest the polls anymore considering the present situation, our correspondent reported.
In Patuakhali’s Kuakata municipality, at least seven were injured in a clash between supporters of local Awami League and BNP at Panjupara polling centre, our local correspondent reports.
The clash broke out when local AL activists were staffing ballots soon after the voting started, reports our Patuakhali correspondent. Following the clash, voters fled from the polling center.
Azizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Kalapara Police Station, confirmed our correspondent about the clash. Returning Officer Nazmul Kabir had assured that the situation was under control.
In Pabna’s Sujapur municipality, five people were injured in separate clashes between supporters of ruling party’s nominated mayor candidate and its rebel candidate at Sujapur, Bhobanipur and Char Bhobanipur polling centres, reports our local correspondent.
In Natore’s Gurudaspur municipality, at least seven BNP supporters were injured after they were allegedly beaten by ruling Awami League supporters at three separate polling centres in Natore.
The incidents took place in Ghaisapara, Tebaria and Phulbagan polling centres, our Natore correspondent reports.
In Chittagong’s Shitakunda municipality, BNP mayor candidate Abul Mansur was reportedly injured after allegedly attacked by ruling party men while he was on his way to Pontijila High School polling centre in Sitakunda area of the district.
In Feni’s Dagonbhuiyan municipality, BNP mayor candidate Kazi Saifur Rahman was assaulted allegedly by ruling party activists around 9:00am. Returning Officer Farida Khanom said she heard about the incident, reports our local correspondent.
Later, Saifur withdrew down from the election contest around 1:30pm.
In Moulvibazar Sadar municipality, at least 15 people including policemen were injured in clash between supporters of ruling Awami League and BNP, confirmed Abdul Salek, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.
In Mymensingh’s Phulbaria municipality, at least five people were injured in chase and counter chase between supporters of BNP and ruling Awami League, reports our local correspondent.
In Rajshahi’s Taherpur municipality, BNP mayor candidate suffered injuries on his head after alleged Jubo League activists attacked him around 1:00pm, reports our local correspondent.
Besides, six supporters of Abu Nayeem Md Shamusur Rahman Mintu were also injured in the attack, reports our Rajshahi correspondent.
In Comilla, Daudkandi municipality, 10 people were injured in a clash between supporters of councillor hopeful Shahid Ullah Munshi and Md Shamim at Baragaon Govt Primary School polling centre.
The injured were taken to hospital for treatment. Sub Inspector Ahsan Monir, in charge of the polling centre, confirmed the incident.
Earlier, four ballot books with five to ten ballot papers were robbed at North Satanandi Government Primary School polling centre of Daudkandi municipality around 1:00pm.
Following the incident, voting was halted at the centre for an hour, and resumed after executive magistrate arrived at the centre receiving the news. Assistant Professor Md Asaduzzaman Bhuiyan, presiding officer at the polling centre, confirmed the incident to our correspondent adding that the robbed ballot papers could not be recovered.
In Laksam municipality, a mobile team of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested eight people in possession of firearms from area on Wednesday morning, reports UNB.
Among the arrestees were Golam Rabbani, Uttarda union parishad chairman and Laksam upazila unit Awami League leader, Ayat Ullah, president of Baghmara union unit of Bangladesh Chhatra League, and Jahangir Hossain, it said.
Returning officer Rashedul Islam said the team of the elite force arrested five people from Laksam Railway School polling centre and three others from Dhamoicha poling centre while they were staying in the centres with firearms.
In a drive the elite force also recovered 10 petrol bombs and two sacks of hockey sticks from an abandoned building of a college in Laksam upazila.
Rab sources said, being tipped off, a team of Rab conducted a drive in the abandoned building of Nawab Faizunnesa Government College around 2.30pm and recovered the bombs and hockey sticks.
The bombs might have been kept there for carrying out subversive activities, added the sources.
In Jessore, a police constable was injured as miscreants hurled two crude bombs at a police vehicle in R N road area in Jessore town on Wednesday afternoon, reports UNB.
The injured constable was identified as Golam Quader.
Witnesses said some miscreants hurled two crude bombs at the vehicle in the area around 2:30pm, leaving him injured.
Shikder Akkas Ali, officer-in-charge of Kotwali police station said that the constable was injured by a brick chip during a clash between two groups in Asrom intersection area.
The injured constable was taken to Jessore Medical College Hospital for treatment.
However, a doctor of the emergency department of the hospital confirmed that the constable received splinter injuries.