Fear grows over more violence in upcoming local body polls

22 January 2021

Noman Mosharef :
Two phases of municipality polls scheduled for December 28 and on January 15 have been completed experiencing a series of violence including loss of four lives in different parts of the country. Now, tension is running high fearing more violence in the upcoming civic body polls.
Actually, the clashes occurred into the ruling party's fraction as everybody wants to taste the power. There are other interests also.
The prominent citizens' have accused the candidate selection process of the political parties. They also criticized the Election Commission's (EC) weekness to hold a free and fair election.
Citizen's platform Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Secretary and also Global Vice-President and Country Director, Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar said, allocation of election symbols and nomination business have completely ruined the local body polls system.
Badiul Alam Majumdar criticized the EC for destroying the people voting rights and said, Bangladesh Election Commission is become a servile institution of the government. The EC is mostly responsible to destroy the political and voting system of Bangladesh.
He also questioned the use of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and said, it gives a chance to manipulate in the polls by using EVM.
Former Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain said, I am shy of  talking about the Election Commission as I am a witness to the destruction of a constitutional institution in the country.
People are dying, miscreants are shooting but the EC is behaving like a deaf as completely unacceptable, he added.
The former EC said, now the synonym of election in Bangladesh is the machine of earning money.
He further said, Bangladesh's election are now controlling by three 'M' as money, muscle and manipulation.
Even though, the violence has reached such a position that after victory public representative is killed.
In Sirajganj, a councilor-elect was killed in a clash, which broke out soon after he was declared the winner unofficially.
Supporters of BNP-backed candidate Tariqul Islam, who won the election, and his rival Shahadat Hossain clashed after the result was announced , said Inspector Md Golam Mostafa of Sirajganj Sadar police.  
Tariqul sustained knife injuries during the skirmish and was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors declared him dead on arrival.
Additional police forces have been deployed in the area to prevent further confrontations.
The councillor-elect was attacked in the Natun Vangabari area by supporters of his rival Shahadat Hossain, according to locals. In Jhenaidah a councillor candidate was found dead early on Thursday five hours after a clash between his supporters and a rival candidate in the district's Shailkupa upazila. The body of councilor aspirant Alamgir Hossain Babu was recovered from Kumar River around 2am, said police.
Earlier in the day, a clash broke out between supporters of Babu and candidate Shawakt Ali, which left Ali's brother Liakat dead.
Witnesses said the supporters of councillor candidates in Ward-8 of Shailakupa was engaged in a clash while campaigning in Kabirpur around 7pm.
The skirmish left five people injured. Liakat was rushed to Kushtia Medical College Hospital where he succumbed to knife injuries sustained during the clash.
Meanwhile, police have yet to determine the cause of Alamgir's death. "We'll know the cause of death after the autopsy," Shailkupa Police Station Officer-in-Charge Jahangir Alam said.
The two murders have frightened the the citizens and voters of Shailkupa municipality. Police have been deployed throughout the municipal area to avoid further clashes.
In Barishal, a man died after being injured in a clash between rival supporters of two candidates vying for posts in the Mahendiganj municipality polls scheduled for January 30.
Afsar Sikder (55) succumbed to his injuries at Barishal Sher-e Bangla Medical College Hospital in the morning today, our Barishal correspondent reports.
Quoting locals, Mehendiganj Police Station Officer-in-Charge Abul Kalam said the clash took place between councilor candidates of Nippon Talukder and Nurul Haque Jamadder yesterday afternoon.
At one stage during the clash, Afsar was hit by a human haulier on the road, the OC said quoting locals.
He was severely injured and was admitted to the hospital and succumbed to his injuries around 8:00am On Monday, the OC added.

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