1 killed, 27 hurt, 2 journos held: Voting stop in 20 municipal centres

1 killed, 27 hurt, 2 journos held: Voting stop in 20 municipal centres

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Dhaka – A man was shot to death in a clash between the supporters of two Awami League (AL)-backed councillor candidates at a polling station in Satkania municipality, private news agency UNB reported on Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Nurul Amin,50, a resident of Doajirpara of Satkania upazila.
Witnesses said supporters of AL-backed councillor candidate Abdul Halim locked in an altercation with supporters of another AL-backed councillor candidate Mojammel Haque while trying to exert influence in Satkania Government College polling station at about 10:30 am.
At one stage, both the groups opened fired, leaving Nurul critically injured. He was rushed to Satkania Health Complex where attending doctors declared him dead.
Superintendent of Police of Chittagong district Hafiz Akter confirmed the incident.
According to reports at least 27 people were injured in several clashes during elections in three municipalities in Barguna, Chittagong and Pirojpur district on Wednesday.
In Barguna, miscreants stormed Gagan Memorial High School polling centre around 9:15 am and carried out vandalism, said Manjurul Alam, presiding officer of the centre.
The attackers also snatched ballot papers from booths.
At one stage, they locked into altercation with the on-duty law enforcers, and swooped on the people present there, leaving 25 of them, including polling officer and voters, injured.
Later, members of joint force fired blank shots to resist the attackers. The incident prompted the authorities to suspend voting at the centre.
In Chittagong, BNP-backed mayoral candidate Abul Mansur of Sitakunda municipality was injured in an attack allegedly by the ruling party men while he went to visit Pankhichila Primary School polling station around 10am.
Later, he was admitted to Sitakunda Upazila Health Complex. Upazila Nribahi Officer Nazmul Islam confirmed this.
In Pirojpur, BNP-backed mayoral candidate Shafiqul Islam Prodhan’s agent Sabbir Rahman was injured in an attack by some miscreants while he was going to a polling station of Shawrupkathi municipality.
Harun-or-Rashid, general secretary of the district unit of BNP, alleged that some activists of AL-blessed mayoral candidate Golam Kabir beat up Sabbir around 7:30am.
Members of Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) arrested two journalists and a man for their suspicious movement at a polling station in Puthia municipality early Wednesday.
The arrestees were identified as Sourav Habib, bureau chief of vernacular daily Samakal and private news channel ATN News, Rabiul Islam, cameraperson of ATN News, and his nephew Tariquzzaman.
Officer-in-charge of Puthia Police Station Hafizur Rahman said the trio was roaming at the PN School polling station in the early hours on Wednesday.
At one stage, BGB personnel arrested them around 3:30am, Hafizur added.  The OC also said the arrested will be produced before a court.
In another incident, police arrested five leaders and activists of BNP and its front organisations on charge of attacking Awami League-blessed mayoral candidate’s men during electioneering for the polls in Noahata municipality of the district on Tuesday.
One of the arrestees was identified as Abul Kalam Azad, organising secretary of Noahata municipality Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal.
Office-in-charge of Paba Police Station Shariful Islam said Abul Kalam Azad and four others were arrested from in front of the election office of BNP backed mayor candidate around 4pm following a hand bomb attack on Awami League- backed mayoral candidate Abdul Bari’s men during mass contact in his favour in Puthiapara Ansar camp area on Monday, leaving 10 people injured, including Abdul Bari.
Police started interrogating the arrestees primarily about the attack, he added.
In more developments Voting in 12 polling centres in six municipalities of Comilla, Chittagong, Madaripur, Jamalpur and Narsingdi districts were postponed on allegation of vote rigging, capturing voting stations and forced balloting on Wednesday.
In Comilla, returning officer Lutfur Nahar Nazim postponed voting in Latifpur polling station of Barura municipality around 7:30am as BNP-backed mayoral candidate Ilias Patwari raised the allegation of vote rigging.
Presiding officer of the polling station M Harun-or-Rashid said a group of armed miscreants entered the polling station around 2:30am.
The hoodlums then took 1,200 mayoral ballot papers and started stamping on those for the AL-backed mayoral candidate.
On information, police rushed to the spot around 4am and the perpetrators fled the scene sensing the presence of the law enforcers.
Following this, BNP-blessed mayoral aspirant Ilias Patwari complained to the returning officer about this.
In Chittagong, voting in Gachbaria NJ High School and Alfatul Chowdhury Forkania Madrasha polling stations of Chandanish municipality was postponed as allegation of vote rigging was raised.
Meanwhile, voting in Badhupara Primary School polling station in Gachbaria was suspended following the same allegation around 10am.
Returning Officer Sanjida Sharmin postponed the voting following complaint of LDP-backed mayoral aspirant Aiyub Kutubi.
In Madaripur, returning officer Alauddin Miah suspended voting in two polling stations of Kalkini municipality on allegation of vote rigging in early hours of the day.
The returning officer said acting on secrete information that some miscreants were stamping on the ballot papers for “Boat”, symbol of the ruling party Awami League, a team of the district Election Commission office along with police rushed in.
Sensing the presence of the team, the hoodlums fled the scene, Alauddin added.
In Jamalpur, voting in Azad Government Primary School, Baniabazar and Shankanda Primary School election centres in Jamalpur municipality was postponed following allegation of snatching ballot boxes, said returning officer M Rasel Sabrin.
Besides, returning officer of Sharishabari municipality M Moshrraf Hossain postponed polling in the Baushi station following the same allegation.
In Narsingdi, voting in Madhabdi Mahila College polling station in Madhabdi municipality was suspended as  supporters of AL-backed mayoral candidate took control of the voting centre around 10:15am, said returning officer Anup Kumar Ghosh.
Besides, voting in the Amirabad Fazlul Kindergarten School polling station of the same municipality was suspended for the same reason.
Polling in 234 municipalities of the country began on Wednesday morning with the spontaneous participation of the voters defying cold amid festive mood and tight security.
The voting that started at 8:00am will continue till 4:00 pm without any break across the country. The day has been declared a public holiday in the areas that went to polls.
According to Election Commission, 12,171 candidates– 945 for mayoral posts, some 8,746 for general councillors and over 2,480 against reserved seats women councillor — are in the race for 3,158 posts that include 234 mayors, 727 women (reserved seat) councillors and 2,182 general councillors.
Meanwhile, seven Awami League mayoral candidates have already been elected unopposed in seven municipalities, including Pirojpur, Madarganj, Tungipara, Feni, Parshuram, Chatkhil and Chenggarchar. Besides, 94 general councillor and 40 women councillor contenders have also been elected unopposed in various municipalities.
Elections for the mayoral posts are being held in 227 other municipalities.
Among 945 mayoral candidates, 234 are contenders from ruling Awami League, 223 from the BNP, 74 from Jatiya Party, 57 from Islami Andolan Bangladesh and 21 from JSD.
Besides, 51 other candidates from 15 small political parties and 285 independent contestants are running the race. A total of 70,72,511 voters are registered to exercise their franchise in the elections.
Supporters of Awami League and BNP mayor candidates at Chandpur’s Matlab municipality clashed with each other at a polling station an hour after the start of voting.
The clash compelled authorities to stop voting for almost an hour at the centre in South Baishpur Primary School.
Police said the clash erupted just after 9am over alleged casting of fake votes.
“Police fired in air to control the situation,” said Sub Inspector Md Shahabuddin.
Returning Officer Farhana Islam said they had to suspend voting after the clash broke out, but polling resumed at 10am.
There have been reports of injuries during the clash but neither the local administration nor the police could confirm it.- Agencies

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