12:00 AM, December 30, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:51 AM, December 30, 2018

Cast ballots without fear

Army chief tells voters, says troops are there to prevent violence

Bangladesh Army Chief General Aziz Ahmed yesterday told voters to go to the polling centres and cast their votes without fear as the army would be around.

"I am telling the voters to go to the polling centres without any fear. You cast your votes; we will be around...We are trying our best so that no one can create any anarchy," he said while talking to reporters after visiting a temporary army camp at Azimpur in the capital.

"We want a good election. We have over 50,000 army personnel deployed across the country. They are conducting patrols.

"We will be alert so that no one can spread fear."

Speaking about the prevailing election atmosphere in the country, he said it was more peaceful than ever before.

"We haven't seen such a calm and peaceful [voting] atmosphere in 47 years," he said.

Violence had erupted before every past election, but this time the number of such incidents was low, he said, adding the army, police, Rab, BGB and civil administration would work as a team to ensure there are no untoward incidents or intimidation of voters.

He said during his daylong visits in the last five days to different districts and divisions, he had found a wonderful atmosphere with officials assuring him that the election would be held in an amicable atmosphere.

He said they had enough forces on stand-by in every cantonment across the country so reinforcements could be sent anywhere if needed.

Mentioning that the military men were conducting regular patrols to ensure a peaceful atmosphere, General Aziz said, "Our main goal is to ensure that no untoward incident takes place after the vote."

He said he had instructed army patrols to be increased in the bordering areas, adding that it was beefed up in areas with minority communities to ensure security.

"We've seen from previous experiences that those who lose the election attack minorities. We'll be very careful about it."

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