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Voters hope for no repeat of election campaign violence

  • Published at 09:26 pm December 13th, 2018
Election campaign posters
Election campaign posters. Photo taken on Thursday, December 13, 2018 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

After electioneering began, violence erupted in Dhaka, Thakurgaon, Bogra, Sirajganj, Netrakona, Chuadanga, Chittagong, Noakhali, Narail, Barisal, Manikganj, and Narsingdi

Voters hope to see no recurrence of the violence that has marred the start of electioneering ahead of the December 30 general elections.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, members of the public, professionals, and also many political activists, condemned the incidents of violence that have claimed at least three lives and injured scores throughout the country over the past several days. 

They sought restraint from political parties, so that democracy is not hindered and people have a free and fair atmosphere to exercise their voting rights.

After election campaigning began, violence erupted in Dhaka, Thakurgaon, Bogra, Sirajganj, Netrakona, Chuadanga, Chittagong, Noakhali, Narail, Barisal, Manikganj, and Narsingdi.

Major opposition Jatiya Oikya Front leaders and their campaigners, including top leader Dr Kamal Hossain's motorcade were attacked, allegedly by ruling Awami League supporters in Dhaka on Friday.

Following the declaration of the election schedule, the election has been among the hottest topics of gossip for people from all spheres of lives, from tea stalls, to university campuses.

The Dhaka Tribune has spoken with around 50 people to learn of their expectations for the election, and all of them said they did not want any more violence.

Politicians should consider democracy and the country’s prosperity, instead of focusing on their political identities, they added.

Dr Md Abul Hasem, professor at the department of Persian language and literature of Chittagong University (CU), urged political parties to show patience and to refrain from election violence.

He said: “A peaceful election is important for the ongoing process of national development. We also have to ensure a violence free election for the betterment of democracy.”

Amit Kumar Basu, former Central Committee member of Bangladesh Chattra League, said violence has been a part of elections in the country for too long.

“During every election, the people of Bangladesh experience serious violence. Common people, especially members of minority communities, become victims of this violence.”

He also urged the people not to vote for instigators of violence, claiming that BNP and Jamaat are mostly responsible for the violence during the elections.

Faruk Hossain, an employee at a private company, said both political parties and the Election Commission have to take responsibility for the polls-related violence.

“It is unfortunate that politicians of our country always rely on violence to show their supremacy during polls, but violent incidents should not be repeated,” Faruk said.

Ahmed Ullah, from Patiya upazila of Chittagong, told the Dhaka Tribune over the phone that he wanted the safety of citizens to be ensured during the elections.

Earlier, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda also urged political parties to show patience and to refrain from election-related violence.

He added the commission was embarrassed by the incidents of pre-polls violence.

"We are urging leaders, activists, and supporters of all political parties to keep their patience, and refrain from further disruptions during election campaigns.

"Please show respect for democratic and basic human rights, and do not engage in illegal and anti-election activities,” Huda said.

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