Union Parishad Polls: 11 killed as clashes, irregularities mark 5th phase

A total of 36,457 candidates contested the polls for chairman and member posts of 708 UPs under 95 upazilas in 48 districts

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At least 11 people were killed during clashes and violence at different districts yesterday during the fifth phase Union Parishad elections. 

While police confirmed the deaths, election and local administration officials also said that the daylong voting to the 708 unions was also marred by many irregularities including incidents of ballot snatching.

A total of 36,457 candidates contested the polls for chairman and member posts of 708 UPs under 95 upazilas in 48 districts.

Of them, 3,278 were chairman contenders for 708 posts, according to the Election Commission. However, 48 contestants were elected unopposed even before the voting.

Besides, 33 candidates for reserved seats and 112 for member posts were elected uncontested in different UPs.

In Bogra, four people were killed reportedly after BGB personnel opened fire during a clash that had ensued election officials’ decision to not announce the results of the vote at Baliadighi union under Gabtoli upazila yesterday evening.

The district’s Additional SP Ali Haider Chowdhury confirmed the deaths. UNO Rownak Jahan said BGB men had fired 25-30 shots after coming under an attack by the supporters of the ruling party chairman candidate.

The agitated supporters also vandalized the polling centre and multiple vehicles of BGB, police and the executive magistrate. Five more people were also injured during the clash.

In another incident, a man was stabbed to death during a clash between supporters of two member candidates in the afternoon during the voting to Rameswarpur UP in Gabtoli.

In Chandpur, two people were killed in separate clashes between supporters of member candidates at different polling centres at Sacar union in Haimchar upazila and at Nilkamal union in Kachua upazila yesterday.

In Chittagong, one person was shot dead during a clash between the supporters of two member candidates in Singhora UP of Anwara upazila. 

In Gaibandha, a man was killed after his throat was slit reportedly by supporters of a rival candidate in Jumarbari union of Saghata upazila yesterday afternoon during the voting.

In Jamalpur, another man was killed in a clash between two chairman candidates at a polling centre in Merur Char UP in Bakshiganj upazila at around 2:30pm yesterday.

At least 50 people including five policemen were also injured during the clash. Two police vehicles and four motorcycles at the centre were vandalized and torched.

In Naogaon, a clash between locals and police over the announcement of results left a man dead and several others injured at Ghoshnagar UP under Patnitala upazila yesterday evening.

The casualties occurred as police opened fire after coming under an attack by the agitated locals. Two police vehicles were also torched at the time.

Apart from the deaths, many reports of assaults, vandalization, ballot snatching and polling centre occupation, apart from other irregularities, had also surfaced as the balloting were underway.

In Shariatpur, 10 people were injured after supporters of a chairman candidate opened fire, exploded bombs and snatched ballot boxes before torching a polling centre at Bhojeshwar UP in Naria Upazila yesterday during the polls. 

Motorcycles belonging to journalists and the assistant presiding officer were also torched. Later, authorities suspended polling at the Dulukhanda Primary School polling centre. 

An ATN News cameraperson was assaulted by a chairman candidate and his supporters while he was covering the voting in Madhabpur union under Kamolganj upazila, Moulvibazar yesterday morning.

In Chittagong, a number of vehicles including eight carrying journalists were also vandalized.

In Tangail, an Awami League-backed candidate in Fulki union of Basail reportedly snatched around 400 ballots from a polling centre during the polls. Voting to the union was suspended afterwards.

In Sylhet, two election officials were arrested after being caught with hundreds of ballot papers during the voting at the unions under Zakiganj upazila. 

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