• Sunday, April 20, 2014

Army starts election duty today

Staff Correspondent

The armed forces personnel will start working as a striking force for 15 days from today to maintain law and order in the 10th parliamentary polls scheduled for January 5, amid a boycott by the BNP-led opposition.
The voting will take place in the 146 out of 300 parliamentary seats, as 154 candidates have been elected unopposed since they were the lone candidates in their constituencies.   
According to officials of the Election Commission (EC), army personnel will remain deployed at different important spots in district, upazila and metropolitan areas.
The decision came from a high-profile meeting on December 20. The EC convened the meeting attended by top officials of security agencies, Armed Forces Division (AFD), deputy commissioners, and superintendents of police.
Along with the army, navy personnel will work in different coastal areas as per the decision of the meeting.
Meanwhile, army personnel have been seen at different districts since December 20. EC officials said army men might have arrived in different districts for winter exercise, not for election duties.
Two days after that meeting, the EC sent a letter to the AFD regarding deployment of armed forces personnel.
In the letter, the EC mentioned that the army would help ensure safe traffic movement on roads and highways in addition to maintaining law and order during the elections.
An official of home ministry yesterday told The Daily Star: "We have prepared a draft on how many armed forces personnel and law enforcers will be deployed. We have sent the draft to the Election Commission for vetting. After getting the nod from the commission, we will issue a circular in this regard."
"In the draft, we have also drawn up a working plan for armed forces personnel, and law enforcers," he added.
A senior assistant secretary of the EC Secretariat confirmed that they had received the draft on Tuesday evening.
Contacted, an Election Commissioner told The Daily Star: "As today (Wednesday) is pubic holiday, we have not seen the home ministry's letter. We will be able to tell about it tomorrow (today)."
But the sources in the EC said around 50,000 armed forces personnel might be deployed in the elections.  
Returning officers in coordination with the AFD officials would finalise the deployment plan, the sources added.
Meanwhile, the EC has installed eight closed circuit (CC) cameras inside and outside the EC Secretariat buildings as part of strengthening its security.
Additional security men have been deployed there for the last couple of weeks.


Published: 12:02 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Last modified: 10:05 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

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