Voting ends, 15 killed in violence
Dhaka: The counting of votes has begun in the 11th national election held on Sunday amid allegations of irregularities, including overnight stuffing of ballot boxes and capturing of polling stations, and sporadic violence in different parts of the country, leaving 15 people dead.
The counting began after the voting came to an end at 4pm, reports the UNB.
The voting in the capital was, however, almost peaceful as reported by UNB reporters.
In Noakhali, Nurun Nabi, an Ansar member, was shot dead by some miscreants at Tulachara Primary School polling station of Noakhali-3 constituency, said presiding officer Prof Dr Suchon Chowdhury.
In Chattogram, Ahmed Kabir, 45, an activist of Jatiya Party, was killed in a clash between Awami League and Jatiya Party activists in Banskhali upazila early in the morning.
In Rangamati, Bashir Uddin, general secretary of Kashkhali union Jubo League unit, was killed in an attack allegedly by some BNP activists at Kashkhali union in Kaukhali upazila in the morning.
In Cumilla, Bachchu Mia, 35, a resident of Sundial village in Nangalkot upazila, was killed in a clash between the supporters of AL and BNP in the morning, said district police special branch sub-inspector Mahbub Morshed.
Besides, a rickshaw-puller, Muzibur Rahman, 35, son of Sujat Ali of Muradnagar village of the upazila, was killed in a clash between ruling Awami League and BNP men at Paschim Belashwar village in Chandian upazila.
In Rajshahi, Merajul Islam, 30, son of late Abdus Sattar and an Awami League supporter, was killed in a clash between BNP and AL men in Pakuria Government High School centre in Jahanabad union of Mohanpur upazila around 11am over capturing a polling centre of Rajshahi-3 constituency, said Rajshahi district police superintendent Shahidullah.
Besides, Modasser Ali, 40, organising secretary of Awami League No-8 ward in Panchandar union of Tanore upazila, was killed in a clash between BNP and Awami League men over capturing Mohammadpur High School polling station of Rajshahi-1 constituency, said officer-in-charge Rezaul Islam of Tanore Police Station.
In Tangail, police recovered the body of BNP ward unit president Abdul Aziz, 65, who remained missing since Saturday from Nagda Shimla area in Gopalpur upazila.
In Natore, Hussain Ali, an Awami League supporter, was stabbed to death by his nephew Ratan Fakir following an altercation over casting vote at Samskholsi village in Naldanga upazila.
In Narsingdi, Milon Miah, 35, an Awami League polling agent, was hacked and slaughtered allegedly by supporters of opposition (independent) candidate at Kundarpara Primary School centre of Shibpur of Narsingdi-3 constituency around 12:30 am, said Abul Kalam Azad, officer-in-charge of Shibpur Police Station.
In Bogura, Awami League activist Azizul Islam, 30, was killed and five others were injured in a clash between AL and BNP activists at Bagil polling station in Kahalu upazila around 11:3am over capturing polling station, said Paikor Union Parishad Chairman Mitu Chowdhury.
In Brahmanbaria, Israil, 19, son of Sayedul Islam of Rajghar village in Sadar upazila, was shot dead and three others suffered bullet wounds ‘in police firing’ during a clash between supporters of AL and BNP at Rajghar Government Primary School polling centre of Brahmanbaria-3 constituency.
In Cox’s Bazar, Abdullah Al Faruque, 25, son of Abul Kalam of Rajakhali union in Pekua upazila, was killed in a clash between BNP and AL men in Rajakhali Government Primary School polling station of Cox’s Bazar-1 constituency around 10am, said Tanzir Hossain, officer-in-charge Pekua Police Station.
In Gazipur, Liakat Hossain, an Awami League leader and former Vice-President of Kazi Azimuddin College Sangsad, was stabbed to death at Harinal in the city.
Quoting Liakat’s brother Ershad Hossain, Samir Sutra Dhar, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station, said the local activists of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Jubo Dal stabbed Liakat indiscriminately at a polling centre around 2:30 pm, leaving him critically injured.
Later, he was taken to Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead.
In Sylhet, a local JCD leader was shot to death during a clash over occupying Azizpur Government Primary School polling centre in Balaganj upazila.
The deceased was identified as Sayem Ahmed Sohel, general secretary of JCD upazila unit.
Quoting witnesses, Mahbubul Alam, sub-inspector of Balaganj Police Station, said a group of people swooped on the polling centre around 3:50pm and tried to capture it.
As the rival party obstructed them, a clash broke out. At one stage, Sohel suffered bullet wounds and died on the spot.
In the capital, BNP candidate for Dhaka-4 constituency Md Salahuddin Ahmed was hacked allegedly by ruling party activists when he went to cast his vote at Shyampur Model High School voting centre in the morning.
Meanwhile, 25 Jatiya Oikyafront candidates and one independent contestant have announced to boycott the election, citing various irregularities, including voterigging and capturing of polling stations by ruling party men.
They made the announcement halfway through as they alleged that ruling party men captured polling stations, rigged votes and barred voters from casting votes in their constituencies.
Situation in Capital
Visiting polling centres at Siddheswari Girls’ High School (both male and female), Shantinagar Ideal School (female), Little Master School (male) and Green Hill Tutorial (female) from 8am to 9:30am, a UNB correspondent found that a peaceful environment was prevailing as voters were casting votes with much enthusiasm.
Grand Alliance candidate Rashed Khan Menon, BNP candidate Mirza Abbas and Md Eunus Ali Akando of Jatiya Party are contesting the election from the Dhaka-8 parliamentary seat.
However, no Jatiya Oikyafront supporters were seen around these polling centres though few supporters of the JaPa candidate were seen. Female voters’ presence was remarkable until 9:30am.
‘I’m so happy to cast my vote without any fear. I hope this peaceful environment will prevail till the end,’ Nishat Tasnuva, a first-time voter, told UNB after casting her vote at Shantinagar Ideal Scholl centre.
The presence of voters inside and outside the Siddheswari Girls’ High School centre was much higher. ‘You see a very peaceful environment is prevailing here,’ a police official told UNB adding, ‘See, voters are casting votes and their kids are playing here (kids playing corner).
The presence of voters at Mirza Abbas Mohila Degree College in the city’s Shahjahanpur area was huge. A few voters said they faced difficulties in finding out their exact polling booths to cast their votes due to the absence of representatives of candidates who were supposed to guide the voters.
‘You see the enthusiasm among the voters. We’re making sure that everyone can cast vote smoothly,’ presiding officer Tuhinul Islam told UNB at Mirza Abbas Mohila Degree College centre, adding that the vote casting is relatively faster here due to the presence of increased booths.
Presiding officer at Mahbub Ali Institute in Shahjahanpur Ashiqul Islam told UNB that some 35 percent votes were cast by 12pm. ‘Law enforcement agencies are very active. I hope this peaceful environment will remain until the end of voting.’
Ainul Kabir, presiding officer at Siddheswari Boys’ Higher Secondary School centre in the city, told UNB that they did not receive any complaint from anybody and voters cast their votes with much enthusiasm.
Visiting MDC Model Institute in Mirpur, the UNB correspondent found that there was no agent of BNP in the polling centre.
When a BNP agent tried to enter the polling station, Awami League supporters chased him. As the BNP agent took shelter in a club of Agrani Kalyan Samiti, the AL supporters beat him up.
The AL men also snatched a mobile phone of a reporter as he took photo of the incident, said witnesses.
Visiting Rampura area, a UNB correspondent found that the polling was being held in a peaceful manner without hassle in different centres.
At Ekramunnesa Degree College centre which is an all-female one, voter presence was satisfactory, said Ahsan Ullah, presiding officer of the centre.
‘Around 300-400 votes have been cast here since morning,’ he said.
Iqra Bangladesh School and College, another nearby centre, saw voter turnout of above 20 percent in the morning.
Anisur Rahman, presiding officer of the centre, said, ‘Overall voting has been peaceful so far, I pray for remaining till the end.’
South Point School and College had an impressive turnout since morning similar to previous centres.
The voting took place in a peaceful manner in the city’s different centres in Dhaka-12 constituency (Tejgaon-Ramna).
A UNB correspondent found no agent of BNP in any of the centres while visiting those.
The turnout of voters was good in the polling centres but no representative from BNP or Jatiya Oikyafront was seen.
During the visit of Nakhalpara Primary School polling centre (female) at 9:15 am, it was found that about 250 votes were cast out of 2,521.
Presiding officer of the centre Mamun Rashid said the agents of AL, Jatiya Party and Islami Andolon Bangladesh were present in his centre. But no agent from BNP came to his centre.
Presiding officer of a male centre at the same school Alimur Rahman said about 350 votes were cast till 9:20 am.
He also said the agents of different parties, including AL, except BNP were present in his centre.
The same scenario was found in Tejgaon Civil Aviation Centre in Shahinbagh area. The school housed a total of 10 booths with 9,888 voters.
Where top leaders cast vote
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina cast vote at Dhaka City College centre in the capital at 8 am, while Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader cast his vote at Udayan Kindergarten centre in Basurhat municipality under Noakhali-5 constituency at 8:50 am.
Jatiya Oikyafront chief Dr Kamal Hossain cast vote at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College centre in the capital around 8:56am and BNP general secretary Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir cast his vote at the Thakurgaon Government Girls’ School around 8:30 am.