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Rangamati gun attack: End never justifies means

Rangamati gun attack: End never justifies means

The death of an assistant presiding officer and six others in a gun attack in the Rangamati Hill District as they were returning after the end of polling at a local centre in the second phase of Upazila local government polls on Monday evening is probably the worst election-related violence that ever took place in Bangladesh.
So long there had been clashes, ballot-box snatching or stuffing of ballot boxes and in rare cases deaths in clashes or when law enforcers resorted to firing to contain such unruly atmosphere. Gun attack by any people or group of people has never been even in the imagination of the people in Bangladesh.
The gun attack was on a vehicle of a motorcade carrying election officials and law enforcers in Baghaichhari Upazila. The Superintendent of Police of Rangamati M Alamgir Kabir was quoted as saying that the election officials and law enforcers were returning to the Upazila headquarters in four vehicles after counting votes at a rural polling centre at Kanglak under the Sajek area of the Upazila.
Attackers opened fire on the last vehicle of the convoy from a hill at Noymile of the Upazila at about 6:30 pm. The attack left the six dead on the spot and the others injured. Intelligence sources have reportedly hunched that members of United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF, Proshid Khisa), a rival of Jana Sanghati Samity (JSS) might have carried out the attack.
Barorishi Chakma, nominated by JSS (Santu Larma), contested the Upazila Parishad election from Baghaichhari against Sudarshan Chakma of JSS (reformists). Barorishi, however, boycotted the election halfway through, and after the announcement of the polls boycott, various posts were made on Facebook threatening to launch an attack. The group that has been the suspect in the eyes of the law enforcers in the area does not belong to either of the two candidates. Armed attack in support of Barorishi Chakma of JSS (Santu Larma) would be the last thing for the UPDF to do because they are the arch-rivals in the region.
Such armed groups have been in internecine clashes for supremacy in the Hill Districts of Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban for years, and they occasionally clash also with law enforcers. Gun attack on elections officials was never heard before. Election officials and law enforcers who died in the attack were not political foes of the rival groups and are innocent victims. Taking the life of people cannot be supported on any pretext. Such gruesome murders can never be accepted.