MP assaults polls official
The Election Commission has decided to file a case against ruling Awami League lawmaker Mustafizur Rahman Chowdhury for allegedly assaulting an upazila election officer in Chittagong yesterday.
The MP of Chittagong-16 constituency has also “verbally abused” Banshkhali Upazila Election Officer Zahid Hossain at the office of the upazila nirbahi officer for not appointing the lawmaker's men as polling officials in the Union Parishad polls.
The UNO was not present during the incident, said the victim.
The upazila election officer informed the matter to the district election officer, who then sent a letter to the EC for necessary action.
The commission yesterday afternoon decided to file a criminal case against the lawmaker and suspended polls to all the 14 UPs of Banshkhali upazila that were to go to polls on June 4, EC Secretary Sirazul Islam told The Daily Star.
The lawmaker dismissed the allegations, describing those as false and fabricated. He made a counter allegation that the upazila election officer was collaborating with Jamaat-Shibir men.
Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said, “Action will definitely be taken against anyone, whoever they are, for committing crimes.”
Talking to The Daily Star, Zahid said the lawmaker's Personal Secretary Tajul Islam, also an AL-nominated chairman aspirant of Baharchhara UP, gave him a list of around 200 people and asked him to appoint them as polling officials a few days ago.
He said some of them, who were eligible, were given election duties, but Tajul was not happy and demanded appointment of all the 200.
Following this, the lawmaker verbally abused him over the phone for not complying with his directive and threatened to teach him a lesson, he alleged.
“I informed this to the officer-in-charge of Banshkhali police by phone and wanted to file a general diary. But he said everything would be all right.
“In the morning [yesterday], the lawmaker asked me over the phone to go to the UNO's office. I went there around 11:30am accordingly.”
As soon as he reached the UNO's office, supporters of the lawmaker locked the door from outside and the lawmaker started abusing him verbally and kept him asking why he was not following his instructions.
“When I protested against it, he became furious and started to beat me up,” said Zahid.
Contacted, the lawmaker said, “There is no question of beating up the election officer and I have never abused him verbally.
“We have seen that 50 percent of the election officials have been appointed from Chakaria and Pekua upazilas of Cox's Bazar although there are sufficient eligible people in Banshkhali.
“We learned that Election Officer Zahid is collaborating with Jamaat-Shibir and appointed election officials as per their suggestion.”
Asked, Md Alamgir, OC of Banshkhali Police Station, said the election officer did not tell him about the threat and did not discuss anything regarding filing a GD.
Earlier in December, AL lawmaker of Mymensingh-2 constituency Sharif Ahmed threatened a returning officer with dire consequences for not working in favour of a mayor candidate in Phulpur municipality poll.