One killed in BGB firing, 60 injured in polls violence

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Dhaka, April 24: One killed and 62 people, including four policemen and three journalists, were injured in clashes during the third phase union parishad (UP) polls in seven districts on Saturday.

It is claimed that an activist of BNP was killed and 10 others injured in a clash between law enforcers and local people at about 7 pm at Chatmohor upazila in Pabna district over the delay in announcing the result of Bhadurpur union parishad election under Chatmohor upazila.

The deceased was identified as Emdad Hossain, 35, son late Amzad Hossain of Bhadurpur under Chatmohor upazila of the district.

Chatmohor police station officer in-charge Subrata Kumar Sarkar said local voters were eagerly waiting for the result after the election but the authorities were making delay in announcing the result. At one stage, local people burnt a vehicle of a law enforcing agency that led to widespread chaos. Suddenly, the BGB personnel open fire on the unarmed people to bring the situation under control, leaving 11 injured. Among the injured, one Emadad Hossain died at the local hospital. The hospital sources confirmed the death.

Assistant Director of BGB claimed that they had no alternative but to open firing to bring the situation under control.

A tense situation has been prevailing in the area. Pabna police super Alamgir Kabir also confirmed the matter.

In Thakurgaon, at least 10 people were injured in clash between the supporters of AL-backed chairman candidate and AL-rebel aspirant during balloting at Bhakura Government Primary School polling station in Pirganj upazila in the afternoon.

Police said the supporters of two chairman candidates locked into a clash over campaign around the polling station around 1pm, leaving 10 people injured.

Police, later, arrested a man from the spot.

In Chandpur, 25 people, including a policeman, were injured in separate clashes between the leaders and activists of local Awami League and BNP units during election to some 25 UPs in Faridganj and Hajiganj upazilas.

Police and witnesses said nine people suffered injuries in a clash at Dhanua polling centre in Faridganj while one policeman suffered bullet wounds at Lohagarh centre in the same upazila and 15 people were injured in clashes in different unions of Hajiganj upazila.

In Brahmanbaria, three journalists were injured in an attack allegedly by the supporters of Awami League-backed chairman candidate while covering ‘irregularities’ at Chunta AC Academy polling centre in Sarail upazila.

Locals alleged that the supporters of AL-backed chairman candidate Shahjahan Mia stormed the polling centre and started stamping ballot papers. At one stage, they swooped on three on-duty journalists — Pijush Kanti Acharya, bureau chief of ATN Bangla, its cameraman Sumon Roy and My TV’s cameraman Jabed–as they moved to cover ‘vote rigging’, leaving them injured.

Besides, miscreants exploded 10 crude bombs during a clash between two groups of the member candidates at a polling centre in Sarail upazila during the election at noon, leaving eight people injured.

The injured people of the two incidents were taken to different hospitals.

In Jamalpur, 10 people suffered injuries as the supporters of two member candidates– Mofazzel Hossain and Shahjahan Munshi–of Gaibandha union locked into an altercation over taking control of the Porarchar Government Primary School polling centre in Islampur upazila around 10am. At one stage, both the groups swooped on each other, leaving 10 people injured.

Police fired 6-7 rounds of bullet to disperse the warring groups.

In Laxmipur, two policemen–sub-inspector Selim and constable Shahidullah – suffered bullets wounds as miscreants opened fire at them while they were on duty at Sundara Govrnment Primary School polling centre in Ramganj upazila in the afternoon, said officer-in- charge of Ramganj Police Station Tota Miah.

They were first taken to Ramganj Upazila Health Complex and later shifted to Noakhali Medical College Hospital as their condition deteriorated.

In Noakhali, SI Nur Alam of Chatkhil Police Station and two Ansar members — Khurshed and Harun –received injuries in two polling centres in Chatkhil upazila as they tried to resist miscreants from snatching ballot boxes from the centres.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Saturday postponed balloting in 24 polling stations across 48 districts following several irregularities, including capture of polling stations and stuffing ballot boxes.

Nine of the polling stations where polls were postponed are in Chatkhil upazila of Noakhali, four each in Adarsha Sadar of Comilla and Faridganj of Chandpur, two in Raipur of Laxmipur, and one each in Naikkhangchhari of Bandarban, Kashiani of Gopalganj, Sreepur of Magura, Shariatpur Sadar and Sherpur Sadar.

The EC moved to postpone voting in these centres as ‘the situation went beyond control’ following irregularities and violence.

The balloting in the third phase of the elections to the lowest tier of the local government body began at 8am and ended at 4pm on Saturday.

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