Election Commission (EC) has assured of investigating all incidents of violence during today’s general election that saw deaths of at least 19 people and more than 200 hurt.
“Legal action will be taken after investigating each of the incidents of election violence,” Helal Uddin Ahmed, the commission’s secretary, said at a press briefing.
He was briefing reporters at a press briefing held at Nirbachan Bhaban around two hours after Bangladesh’s 11th parliamentary election came to a close.
Voting for the 11th parliamentary election ended peacefully in Dhaka; but was tainted with violence elsewhere across the country and cost the lives of at least a dozen people.
Reports of casualties came in from Cumilla, Chattogram, Sylhet, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Rangamati, Cox’s Bazar, Bogura, Noakhali, Narsingdi and Gazipur.
Allegations of vote rigging, election clashes, intimidation and irregularities came in from several other constituencies and capital Dhaka city.
Also, the election saw opposition candidates boycotting elections in at least 43 constituencies; 42 of who were JatiyaOikyafront runners.
Several journalists were the victims of physical violence on election day. Al Amin, a reporter for the cvoice24.com news website, was attacked by about 15 activists when he tried to cover the polling in Chattogram.
Despite having accreditation from the electoral commission, at least seven Daily Star journalists were meanwhile denied access to polling stations by police or by representatives of the ruling coalition.
The Daily Star photographer Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo was attacked by ruling party activists while taking photos of a Dhaka polling station. Kafi Kamal, a reporter for the Manab Zamin newspaper, had to be hospitalized after a similar attack in Dhaka.
At another incident, some journalists of different newspaper and online news portal were attacked by the Awami League activists in a polling centre at Farmgate of Dhaka around 1:30pm on December 30, 2018. A female voter preferring anonymity due to security reasons, she said, "When we went to the centre, people asked us to go home, saying voting has ended." There were some voters wanted to cast their votes but the Awami League activists said, “Go home, voting has ended.”
They were capturing the scenes of irregularities in the polling center. Our online digital lead, Md. Mahamudul Hasan was on the spot. He took the photos of the AL activists and was capturing a video by his smartphone of the frustrating experience of a female voter. On that time, the AL activists attacked and started beating him. Then, they snatched and destroyed his mobile. He said that the attackers were armed with rod, hokey sticks.
On December 25, 2018, at least twelve journalists on duty to cover election news were injured and 16 vehicles carrying them vandalised as unidentified miscreants attacked them at a rest house close to Nawabganj Police Station.
A gang of 30 or 35 attackers masked in mufflers suddenly entered the guest house and continued attacking the journalists from private television channel Jamuna and its sister concern Bangla daily newspaper Jugantor around 10:30pm, Jugantor senior reporter Sirajul Islam told The Daily Star.
A total of 40 journalists and drivers of Jamuna Television and Jugantor boarded Shamim Guest House at Kolakopa Bandura in Nawabganj to cover electioneering of the upcoming 11th national elections for the Dhaka-1 constituency, he said.
The attack continued for 20 minutes in which several rooms on the third floor and around 16 vehicles parked downstairs were vandalised, Islam said.
The journalists were confined to their rooms for around an hour, he added.
Sushant Sinha, special correspondent of Jamuna television echoed Sirajul Islam adding that they immediately called local Upazila Nirbahi Offcier and officer-in-charge of Nawabganj Police Station but to no avail.
The Daily Star tried to reach the Superintendent of Police of Dhaka district and officer-in-charge of Nawabganj Police Station over phone for their version but none-of them picked up calls.
Quamrul Hasan, sub-inspector of Nawabganj police station, was seen on Jamuna television to have arrived at the scene later to collect evidence of the incident and was heard saying that they would look into the incident