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Monday, May 14, 2018 11:25:04 PM
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Police must refrain from arrest during election case or no case

By Editorial Desk
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Election to Khulna City Corporation is taking place today in a highly tense situation and people all over the country are keeping watch on whether the polls will end without major incidents giving voters a fair chance to exercise their right to franchise. We would like to see no police arrest with or without arrest warrant should take place in the Election Day till the end of the polling.

We want to say that police must play a neutral role in the Election Day and ensure a peaceful environment for voters to come to the polling station and cast their vote. They can be authorized to arrest a person on the spot only if he or she is found committing an offence in and around a polling station. 

There may be arrest warrant against a person in old cases but police should not use the occasion of the election day to arrest the person apparently to deny him casting the vote. A person can't be denied of his or her voting right under any pretext.

The High Court has also issued a directive on Monday asking concerned law enforcers not to arrest a person or harass him or her on the Election Day. The directive came in the wake of massive arrest of BNP mayoral candidate's workers and supporters on a writ filed by a lawyer as BNP fear police may resort to arrest to keep its voters away from the polling station. Election Commission, Home Ministry, IG Police Khulna Police Commissioner and such other concerned officials have been asked to implement the order.

Political observers are keeping eye on the Khulna City election in the run up to the national election. If this election can be held peacefully without major incidents; it will boost people's hope for a peaceful parliamentary election.  If the Khulna election becomes volatile by ruling party interventions, the message will be terribly discouraging.

BNP leaders have complaint that Awami League mayoral candidate has gathered goons in the city to keep the polling stations under seize. It depends on police and local administration to keep the election environment free and fair.

The Election Commission is mandated to give parties a plain even field to hold the election free and fair but the responsibility lies with the government to create that environment to keep the election free from violence. We hope police will not take side to any party, refrain from arrest of innocent people and rather play their neutral role to make this election free from violence and rigging. 

If the government creates obstacles in establishing fair atmosphere for free election it is the responsibility of  the Election Commission for ensuring such obstacles are removed. The whole responsibility of ensuring free and fair election lies with the Election Commission and this responsibility cannot be shifted.

It must stop the interference by police in election process by arresting persons during election time be there case or no case. If an offence is committed on the spot only then the police will have authority to arrest but not for past offences.

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