12:00 AM, December 26, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:43 AM, December 26, 2018

It made no difference

Alleges BNP about army role in ensuring peaceful election atmosphere

The BNP yesterday alleged that army deployment could not make any difference to the polls environment.

Senior leaders of the party -- Khondaker Mosharraf Hossain and Ruhul Kabir Rizvi Ahmed -- said their leaders and activists “continue to be attacked and harassed” across the country.

“Ruling party men are still reckless even on the second day of army deployment. They are attacking us, torching our [campaign] offices and filing cases against us,” said Mosharraf, BNP candidate in Cumilla 1 and 2.

“So our expectations [that the polls atmosphere will improve] have not been fulfilled even on the second day [of army deployment]. We still don't think that the army is being able to do anything to ensure a level playing field,” he said at an election rally in Korikandi area of the district's Titas upazila.    

Local BNP leaders said at least four cases have been filed against their men since the election schedule was announced on November 8. Two of the cases were lodged in the last two days. The accused include Titas BNP president and general secretary, they said.

Speaking at a press conference at the BNP's Nayapaltan central office in the capital around 11:00am yesterday, Rizvi, senior joint secretary of the party, alleged that around 100 of their leaders and activists, including 19 MP candidates, were injured in attacks in the last 24 hours.

“The situation in the election field is not improving despite the deployment of the army,” he said, alleging that the police had become more intolerant towards opposition men.

“Earlier, they [police] used to baton-charge us before opening fire. But now they start with [firing] gunshots.”

He hoped that the army would play a “better role” in improving the polls atmosphere and urged for steps to ensure a peaceful polls environment.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Romana Mahmud, president of Sirajganj BNP, also said, “The [polls] situation has not improved according to our expectations.”

“But we hope that things will get better soon, ” said Romana, also the BNP candidate in Sirajganj-2.

Saidur Rahman Bachchu, general secretary of the BNP unit, said Romana could not hold an election meeting in Bahirgola Point area yesterday as the AL men had already gathered there.

BNP candidate in Rajshahi-3 Shafiqul Haque Milon claimed that the situation has deteriorated in the area.

He alleged that plainclothes policemen were openly damaging their election camps and barring them from campaigning.

 “I have not yet seen any patrol vehicle of the army or the BGB,” Milon said adding, “The situation would have improved had the forces just patrolled different areas.”

He claimed that the law enforcers picked up at least 100 of his supporters from either his campaigns or their homes in last 24 hours. They also destroyed at least 200 out of his 500 election camps in Paba and Mohonpur upazilas.

Mohonpur Police Station Officer- in-Charge Abul Hossain trashed the allegation against the law enforcers.

AL candidate in Rajshahi-1 Omor Faruk Chowdhury claimed that the supporters” of his rival BNP candidate torched an AL office at Mohonpur union.

He said the law enforcers were turning a blind eye to the “armed cadres of Jamaat-Shibir who were taking part in the BNP candidate's campaign.

Mahfuzur Rahman, an election agent of the BNP candidate in Rajshahi-1 Aminul Haque, expressed similar opinion about the election atmosphere.

He said the police arrested three people, including a BNP leader, from a motorcade of Aminul yesterday while three other BNP leaders, including the Godagari municipality mayor, were also arrested.

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