12:00 AM, December 31, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:02 PM, December 31, 2018

18 dead, 200 hurt

Eight of those killed belong to AL, four to BNP

Election violence claimed at least 18 lives yesterday, making it one of the deadliest polls in the country.

More than 200 others were injured in clashes between rival Awami League and BNP supporters in 24 districts.

Eight of the dead were involved with Awami League or its front organisations while four with BNP or its associate bodies and one each with Jatiya Party and Liberal Democratic Party. An Ansar man and three general people are also among the victims.

Of the deaths, two each were reported from Cumilla, Chattogram and Rajshahi and one each from Brahmanbaria, Cox's Bazar, Rangamati, Bogura, Sylhet, Noakhali, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Gazipur, Natore, Narsingdi and Jashore.

Apart from the killing, opposition candidates were attacked and their houses and cars vandalised in different districts. 

The 2014 election, which the BNP-Jamaat alliance boycotted and tried to resist, also saw 18 deaths on the election day on January 5. At least 300 others were hurt.

In Cumilla yesterday, BNP activist Bacchu Mia, 45, was killed in a clash between BNP and AL men at Muragaon Govt Primary School centre in Nangolkot, police and locals said.

The other victim in the district is Muzibur Rahman, 35, an activist of the Liberal Democratic Party. He was killed after police opened fire following a clash between rival groups at Paschim Bellashor Govt Primary School centre in Chandina. 

Abu Faisal Mia, officer-in-charge of Chandina Police Station, said police fired shots in self-defence as miscreants tried to attack the centre.

In Chattogram, Jatiya Party supporter Ahmed Kabir, 35, was shot dead during a triangular clash between police, local AL men and BNP-JP activists when ruling party supporters tried to capture Boraitoli Govt Primary School centre in the dead of the night, locals and police said.

Presiding Officer Mahmudul Hasan said they woke up around 1:30am hearing gunshots at the centre, and later called the police.

“We heard gunshots for five minutes. Three policemen were injured during the clash,” said Mahmudul.

Another person died in a clash over “capturing” the Paschim Maliyara Govt Primary School centre in Patiya.

Victim Abu Sadek, 18, was a madrasa student.

Witnesses said the clash began when BNP men tried to resist a group of ruling party men trying to enter the polling station.

Presiding Officer Abdul Jalil said the attackers vandalised one ballot box and looted 300 ballots, forcing them to suspend voting from 10:30am to 2:00pm.

In Rajshahi, at least two people were killed and 22 others injured in election violence.

The victims -- Meraj Uddin, 22, of Mohonpur upazila and Md Modasser, 45, of Tanore upazila -- were Awami League activists.

They were beaten to death by BNP activists during a clash with AL men, said Abdur Razzak Khan, additional superintendent of Police of Rajshahi.

In Brahmanbaria, a mason was killed allegedly in police firing during a clash between AL and BNP supporters at Rajghar Govt Primary School centre under Sadar upazila.

Witnesses said police used baton and later opened fire as supporters of AL and BNP clashed inside the centre around 11:00am.

Victim Israil Mia, 20, of Rajghar village in the upazila, died on the spot, they said.

Selim Uddin, officer-in-charge of Brahmanbaria Sadar Police Station, said miscreants attacked AL candidate RAM Ubaidul Muktadir Chowdhury of Brahmanbaria-3 with firearms and tried to capture the centre.

Law enforcers opened fire on instructions of the executive magistrate, he added.

Meanwhile, Chhatra League activists allegedly vandalised the house and set fire to two cars of Khaled Hossain Mahbub Shaymal, Oikyafront candidate for the same seat.

Shaymal alleged the BCL men hurled crude bombs to take control of a polling centre near his home.

Police said they had no clue about the attackers.

In Cox's Bazar, a Chhatra League activist died in a clash with BNP men at Rajakhali Matobbor Para Govt Primary School in Pekua upazila around noon.

The dead is Md Abdullah, 23.

He was attacked when he went to the centre to vote, said upazila Awami League General Secretary Abul Kashem.

In Rangamati, Jubo League Ghagra unit General Secretary Basir Uddin was killed in an attack by BNP activists at Rangepara around 8:00am on his way to vote, locals said.

Musa Matobbor, general secretary of Rangamati AL, said BNP men killed Bashir and injured eight other party activists. Shah Alam, president of Rangamati BNP, denied the allegation.

In Bogura, Jubo League activist Azizul Haque died during a clash with BNP men in front of Bogail Govt Primary School around 11:30am.

Kahalu police OC Shawkat Kabir said the clash ensued as AL men obstructed a procession of BNP men near the centre. The BNP men hit Azizul on his head with a sharp weapon leaving him injured. The 28-year-old died of his injuries while being taken to hospital.

In Sylhet, a local Chhatra Dal leader died after being shot allegedly by police at Azizpur Govt Primary School centre in Balaganj upazila around 3:45pm. 

Victim Sayem Ahmed Sohel, 24, was general secretary of upazila Chhatra Dal.

Mujibur Rahman, general secretary of BNP's Balaganj unit, said Sayem and his associates were standing outside the centre when police shot him.

Shamsul Islam Sardar, additional superintendent of Sylhet police, said the JCD men, including Sayem, arrived there to capture the centre. A clash broke out as AL activists confronted them.

“At one stage, Sayem got shot and died,” he said. 

In Noakhali, an Ansar man was killed allegedly by BNP-Jamaat activists in Tulatuli Govt Primary School centre in Begumganj.

Ruhul Amin, Begumganj upazila nirbahi officer, said the clash broke out when AL men tried to prevent the BNP-Jamaat-Shibir men from capturing the centre. 

Victim Nur Nabi got shot as they opened fire, the UNO said.

In Dinajpur, an elderly man suffered a cardiac arrest during a clash between AL and BNP supporters at Shohorgram Govt Primary School around noon, locals said.

Kina Mohammad, 65, of Uttar Laxmipur in Biral died on the spot, his son Azizar Rahman said.

In Lalmonirhat, a ward-level BNP leader of Kholaighat village died in a stampede as a chase and counter-chase between the supporters of AL and BNP took place in front of Paglahat Govt Primary School around 10:00am.

Tozammel Haque, 63, was declared dead at Rangpur Medical College Hospital, police said.

In Gazipur's Harinal, 44-year-old Liakat Hossain, former vice-president of Kazi Azimuddin College unit of Chhatra League, died while two others suffered injuries in polls violence.

City AL member Abdul Hadi Shamim said about 50 youths carrying sticks and sharp weapons attacked him when he was sitting outside Harinal High School around 1:30pm.

In Natore, Awami League supporter Hussain Ali, 48, was allegedly stabbed by his nephew Ratan Fakir following an altercation over voting at Horidakhulshi village in Noldanga.

Ali slapped Ratan for voting the BNP candidate. Ratan retaliated by stabbing him with a knife, said locals and AL candidate Shafiqul Islam Shimul for Natore-2.

In Narsingdi, Milon Miah, 35, a polling agent of the Awami League, was allegedly hacked by supporters of an independent candidate for Narsingdi-3.

In Jashore, a BNP polling agent died hours after he was beaten allegedly by AL activists at Pathalia Primary School in Abhaynagar upazila around 8:30am.

Shamsur Rahman Mollah, 63, was a resident of Barni village in the upazila.

In Jashore-3, BNP candidate Aninda Islam Amit was assaulted and his car vandalised by “boat supporters” in the district town, the candidate alleged.

In Dhaka, BNP candidate for Dhaka-4 Salahuddin Ahmed came under attack when he went to visit a centre at Shyampur Model School and College around 9:15am, according to witnesses and police.

Clashes were also reported from Sherpur, Satkhira, Faridpur, Chandpur, Mymensingh, Feni, Laxmipur and Habiganj.


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