• Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:00 pm

Clash, shooting mark third phase of upazila polls

Voters are seen casting their votes for the third phase of Upazila Parishad Election in Satkhira, on March 24, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

A total of 11,887,751 voters were be able to exercise their voting rights in this election

Voting in the third phase of upazila elections for 25 districts in 117 upazilas of the country, ended on Sunday, amid poor turnout and violence.

In Cox's Bazar, four people were shot in a clash between supporters of rival candidates in the upazila parishad polls at a voting centre in Pekua upazila of the district.

The incident occurred around 9am at Mognama Government Primary School, an hour after voting began.

The injured persons were Abul Hossain, Sadek, Bodi, and Romiz. 

However, following the incident, the situation at the voting centre was quickly brought under control by law enforcement.

Locals said a clash broke out between supporters of independent candidate Jahangir Alam, and local chairman, Shorafat Ullah Washim, after the latter tried to rig votes in favor of the ruling party chairman candidate.

Also Read- Upazila polls: AL candidate hacked in Pirojpur

At one point in the clash, supporters of both candidates started shooting at each other, leaving four people wounded. They were admitted to a local hospital.

In Chittagong, a police constable has been shot during an attack at a polling centre in Chandanaish upazila of Chittagong.

The incident occurred within an hour after voting began in 117 upazila parishads.

Chandanaish police station Officer-in-Charge, (OC) Keshob Chakrabarty, confirmed the matter to the Dhaka Tribune.

The OC said: "Around 9:15am on Sunday, a few miscreants tried to occupy the Government Primary School polling centre. They attacked and shot the policeman when he tried to stop them."

The constable, Farhad Hossain, has been admitted to Chittagong Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in a critical state, as he sustained bullet injuries in the testicles, said Additional Sub-Inspector of CMCH police outpost, Alauddin Talukdar.

In Manikganj, two rebel Awami League Upazila Parishad (UP) chairman candidates of Daulatpur Upazila in Manikganj, Abdul Kader and Aminur Rahman, boycotted the third phase of UP polls, alleging vote rigging.

After the reported vote rigging, a presiding officer was detained from a polling centre in the upazila for his alleged involvement.

Police detained Presiding Officer Ruhul Amin, also assistant teacher at the Khord Chhatiyan Government Primary School, from the Jionpur Khapara Government Primary School polling centre around 9:30am, confirmed District Commissioner, SM Ferdous.

Also Read- Low voter turnout in 3rd phase upazila polls

The authorities also could not start polling at Motto Government Primary School in Sadar upazila of the district on time, due to technical problems with electronic voting machines (EVM) at the centre.

In Kishoreganj, the Election Commission suspended voting at all centres of Katiadi upazila, following allegations of huge irregularities during the 3rd phase of the upazila elections.

Additional superintendent of police, Shafiqul Islam, and Katiadi Police Station Officer-in-charge, Shamsuddin, have been withdrawn over the incidents of vote rigging, said district election officer Mohammad Tajul Islam.

Earlier in the morning, voting at five polling stations was suspended. Later, voting at the rest of the 84 polling stations was suspended over vote stuffing at night, said the election official.

In Barisal, voter turnout was seen to be very low at the polling centres of seven upazilas. In some centres, there were no queues of voters. However, election officials are declining to comment on the matter. 

According to sources at the returning officer’s office, voting is taking place in seven of the nine upazilas of Barisal, with candidates in the other two, elected unopposed.

In Gazipur, there were no voters at most voting centres in Sreepur upazila as of noon. However, a noticeable number of female voters were seen at some centres. 

At the voting centre of Mulaidi Primary School in Telihati union, Presiding Officer Helaluddin Ahmed was seen sitting idly on a school balcony. 

When asked, he said: “One and a half hours have passed but no one has turned up to cast their ballot yet.”      

In Satkhira, most of the 597 centres in seven upazilas, witnessed a low turnout of voters. 

Although polling officials and returning officers expressed hope for a better turnout by noon, the situation was unchanged. Many claimed that a lack of strong opposition candidates has made voters disinterested in the polls.    

In Kushtia, balloting is underway at 611 voting centres, and voter turnout is relatively low in this district as well. 

Firoza Parvin, presiding officer of the centre at Kushtia Mirpur Pilot High School, said: “Only 247 votes were cast as of 11am. However, the voting environment at the centre is peaceful.”

Md Abdul Hannan, presiding officer of the centre at Chithlia union primary school, said: “We have 2,180 eligible voters at this centre. However, only 20% of votes have been cast as of noon.”