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Violence erupts corporation, municipality poll campaigns

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News Desk :
Police have arrested a rebel Awami League candidate and 25 others as one person was killed in a clash between two factions in the run-up to the Chittagong City Corporation polls.
Meanwhile, 20 people were injured in clashes in Narayanganj, while in Kushtia the Awami League mayoral candidate, in broad daylight, asked his supporters to rig votes.
"Sleuths of the detective branch and local police jointly carried out raids at several places and arrested them on Wednesday morning," said Sudip Kumar Das, officer-in-charge of Double Mooring police station in Chittagong.
The arrestees were being interrogated at the detective branch office in Mansoorabad.
Members of the Rapid Action Battalion and local policemen had cordoned off the residence of Awami League rebel candidate Abdul Quader alias Mas Quader in the Pathantuli area at 10pm Tuesday before placing him under arrest.
On Monday morning, an argument broke out between the supporters of Awami League-backed councillor candidate Nazrul Islam Bahadur and rebel candidate Quader after a poster was torn down at Magpukur in the Pathantuli area. The argument soon degenerated into violence when some members of the factions exchanged fire.
Azgarh Ali Babul Sardar, a supporter of Nazrul Islam, died on the spot when he was shot. Mahbub, an activist of the Jubo League who received bullet injuries, was being treated at Chittagong Medical College Hospital, Das said.
Nazrul Islam blamed the supporters of Abdul Quader for the clashes as well as the death of his supporter.
On Tuesday evening, clashes took place between supporters of the two councillor candidates in Noapara of Rupganj upazila.
At least 20 people were injured in the clashes. They were later rescued and admitted to different hospitals. Vehicles were vandalized and set on fire during the clashes.
Supporters of the two councillor candidates filed two separate cases with Rupganj police station.
Police later detained both the councillor candidates for questioning over the incident, said Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Rupganj police station Mahmudul Hasan.
A Narayanganj court on Wednesday granted bail to two councillor candidates arrested in connection with clashes between their supporters over the upcoming Tarabo Municipality election in Rupganj upazila of the district.
Narayanganj Senior Judicial Magistrate Humayun Kabir passed the order after a hearing, court police Inspector Asaduzzaman told Dhaka Tribune.
The two councillor candidates are current councillor Anwar Hossain and Ruhul Amin.
Locals said both the councillor candidates - current councillor Anwar Hossain and Ruhul Amin - organized processions and showdowns on Tuesday centring on the Tarabo Municipality election on January 16.
When the processions faced each other, clashes broke out between supporters over the slogans they were chanting. Both the parties hurled brickbats at each other, vandalized several private cars and motorcycles, and set fire to a covered van.
Meanwhile, in the upcoming Mirpur municipality election in Kushtia, Awami League candidate Enamul Haque openly asked his supporters to go for vote rigging at a campaign meeting.
He said that votes for the councillors had to be cast in the proper way inside the polling booth but for him, his supporters would vote openly. A video clip of his remarks went viral on social media.
Independent mayor candidate Ariful Islam lodged a complaint with the returning officer over the clip.
"No one has anything to say if I rig votes openly. Everyone will seal in public, no problem, where everyone will vote unilaterally. So to vote for the councillors, the voting booths will be used and for me it will be public; there is nothing to be afraid of," he said.
The candidate could not be reached for comment. But Returning Officer Lincon Biswas said the election authorities had summoned him and warned him verbally for making such comments.

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