A day after staging a sit-in on the Tangail returning officer's office premises, Abdul Latif Siddiqui yesterday began a fast unto death demanding the withdrawal of Kalihati Police Station's officer-in-charge and the arrest of those who attacked his motorcade on Sunday.
Latif's family said that even though Latif, an independent candidate for Tangail-4 (Kalihati), declared his fast unto death at 8:00am yesterday, he had not eaten anything since breakfast on Sunday before the sit-in.
Demanding a peaceful electioneering environment, Latif said, “I will continue my strike until my demands are met. The Election Commission will be held responsible if anything happens to me”.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Mosharraf Hossain Siddiqui, Latif's nephew, said that his uncle had fallen ill since he hadn't been eating or taking his medicines since Sunday morning.
“We are worried about his health because he is a patient of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure,” he said.
After the sit-in on Sunday, Latif said for 18 hours no one from the RO's office ensured that his demands would be met. “So I sent a letter to the RO declaring that I have begun my fast unto death since today [Monday],” Latif said.
Tangail's Returning Officer Md Shaidul Islam told The Daily Star yesterday that the civil surgeon in Tangail had been directed to look after Latif's health.
"The superintendent of police in Tangail and I have already gone to Latif on several occasions and requested him to conduct electioneering in his constituency. We have also assured him that we are taking necessary steps regarding his demands," he claimed.
An investigation was underway in connection with the attack and a drive to arrest the attackers was on-going, Shaidul added.
During the attack, at least 10 people were hurt and four cars were vandalised.
Speaking to The Daily Star yesterday, Latif alleged that 20 to 25 supporters of Hasan Imam Khan Sohel Hazari, the Awami League candidate for the constituency, threw brick chips at his motorcade.
Latif also alleged that when they took shelter in a nearby house, the attackers swooped on them.
He submitted a complaint to RO Shaidul, who asked the electoral enquiry committee to investigate the incident.
Tangail Civil Surgeon Md Sharif Hossain, after conducting a medical check-up on Latif on Sunday night and yesterday noon, told The Daily Star that Latif was suffering from high blood pressure.
"His blood sugar level is also decreasing due to not taking medicines and food, leaving him weak and increasing risk to his life," he said.
Latif was found continuing his fast unto death in front of the RO's office as of filing this report at 8:30pm. People in the area were asked to leave as police presence began increasing there.