Polls violence on the rise
With the municipality elections drawing nearer, violence among supporters of mayor candidates has risen sharply, raising concern over holding a free, fair and peaceful elections on December 30.
At least five incidents of violence were reported yesterday in different areas, including Comilla, Savar and Natore. Most of the attacks were led allegedly by the ruling Awami League activists.
Besides, mobile courts yesterday fined several mayor candidates, councillors and their supporters various amounts for violating electoral code of conduct.
Meanwhile, the AL yesterday suspended three rebel mayor candidates for participating in the polls, while the BNP expelled six party men for working against party candidates.
At least 20 people were injured in clashes between supporters of the AL mayor aspirant and rebel candidate yesterday afternoon in Chauddagram.
Of them, Abdul Hannan, a minor boy, and Khalid Hossain, a Chhatra League activist, suffered bullet injuries. They were admitted to Comilla Medical College Hospital.
At least seven motorcycles and a microbus were torched and 20 shops were vandalised and looted during the clash that broke out around 4:00pm, said locals.
Vehicular movement on Dhaka-Chittagong highway came to a halt for about three hours. Later, police brought the situation under control.
Witnesses said AL rebel candidate Mohammad Imam Hossain's supporters attacked the activists of ruling party candidate Mizanur Rahman while they were returning to their camp at Chauddagram Bazar after campaigning. They torched seven motorcycles and threw a petrol bomb at a microbus parked in front of the ruling party candidate's camp.
Both candidates, however, blamed each other for the clash.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir yesterday expressed the party's strong condemnation over the attack on the party men.
At least 10 activists and relatives of BNP nominated mayor candidate in Savar municipality, Mohammad Bodiuzzaman, were injured in an attack at his house at Bank Colony in Savar.
At that time, he was having a meeting with party activists and his relatives over election campaigning.
Bodiuzzaman, who got three months' interim bail from the High Court yesterday, claimed that AL mayor candidate Abdul Goni's son Faruk Hasan Tuhin along with 150-200 men, carrying sharp weapons and firearms, swooped on them at his house.
Tuhin, however, refuted the allegation.
Unidentified men vandalised Lalpur upazila unit AL's office at Gopalpur Bazar yesterday.
Meanwhile, a mobile court led by Executive Magistrate Shafiqur Alam fined Jubo League leader Zaharul Islam Tk 50,000 for creating panic in the locality by beating the supporters of the opponent during campaigning.
Zaharul was campaigning for Ruksana Mortuza Lili, AL mayor candidate in Gopalpur municipality.
In Sarishabari municipality, at least seven people were injured in a clash between supporters of BNP candidate Fayzul Kabir Talukdar and rebel candidate Ruhul Amin Selim at Aramnagor Bazar around 12:00pm yesterday.
A cocktail was blasted at a meeting of AL candidate Mosharraf Hossain in Madhabdi municipality on Sunday night. No one was injured.
Executive Magistarte Rahat Manna fined AL rebel candidate Asraful Islam Tk 10,000 for using colourful posters, AL candidate Ahmad Ali TK 5,000 for using sound system before 2:00pm and BNP activist Selim Uddin TK 5,000 for pasting colourful posters of BNP candidate Insarul Islam.
Several mobile courts have fined 23 candidates, including seven mayor aspirants, in Kishoreganj Sadar, Hossainpur and Karimganj municipalities for violating code of conduct.
Executive Magistrate Abu Taher fined six councillors candidates in Kishoreganj Sadar Tk 10,000 each for violating electoral codes on Sunday night. In Hossainpur, five mayor candidates and 10 councillors were fined a total of Tk 41,000, while in Karimganj, AL candidate Kamrul Islam Chowdhury and rebel candidate Abdul Kaiyum were fined Tk 15,000 and Tk 30,000.
PARTY MEN EXPELLED, SUSPENDED
The BNP yesterday expelled six party men including Chittagong Chandanish municipality BNP unit president and secretary. On the other hand, Jessore district AL yesterday suspended three AL rebel aspirants as they were participating in the polls defying the party decision.
Our district correspondents contributed to the report.