Eight killed in polls violence
At least seven people were killed and several others injured as violence, mainly clashes between supporters of candidates, marred the third phase of the union parishad polls yesterday.
Of the deceased, two each were killed in Munshiganj and Thakurgaon while one each in Narsingdi, Khulna, and Lakshmipur districts.
Another person lost his life in Jashore during a clash on Saturday night, hours before the voting started yesterday morning.
Two of the victims died in clashes between supporters of contenders from the ruling Awami League and dissidents from the party, in Lakshmipur and Khulna districts. Fellow leaders and activists of the victims blamed their rivals for the killings.
Clashes between supporters of candidates were reported in a total of eight districts.
The election was also marked by attacks on polling officials and ballot-stuffing in several places.
With the eight victims, at least 53 people have been killed in polls violence over the staggered UP polls, which began in June.
Seventeen of them were killed in the third phase, 30 during the second phase, held on November 11, and six in the first phase of the elections on June 21 and September 21, according to media reports.
Talking to reporters yesterday evening, Election Commission Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker, however, claimed that apart from some stray incidents, the election yesterday was largely festive. "I think this could be a model for all elections," he said.
Nine-hundred and eight-six union parishads went to polls yesterday. Among the 9,873 centres, voting was suspended at 21. Voter turnout was around 70 percent, claim Election Commission sources.
Arif Mia, 24, driver of a CNG-run auto-rickshaw, was killed in police firing in Chanderkandi union of Narsingdi's Raipura upazila yesterday, said locals.
The incident happened as the law enforcers opened fire to disperse supporters of AL nominated chairman candidate in the union Korshed Alam and independent contender Mejbahuddin Khandokar, who had locked in a clash.
Arif was announced dead after he was taken to the local upazila health complex.
In Munshiganj, two people were killed in post-polls violence in two unions under sadar upazila.
Shakil Mollah, 30, was killed in a clash between supporters of Arfa Begum and Rabeya Begum, two candidates for reserved seats for women in Banglabazar union. Shakil, a supporter of Rabeya, died after being stabbed indiscriminately.
He was brought dead to Munshiganj General Hospital around 7:30pm, said doctor Shaibal Bashak of the hospital.
Reazul Sheikh, 70, was a cousin of an independent chairman candidate Ali Siddique. Reazul was beaten to death by supporters of rival independent candidate Golam Mostofa in Panchasar union, alleged victim's wife Bilkis Begum.
Golam Mostafa claimed none of his supporters was involved.
In Thakurgaon's Pirganj, two people were killed and five others injured in Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) firing at Ghidhob Government Primary School polling centre over vandalism of the polling centre by supporters of an independent.
The victims are: Shahaboli, 35, and Muja Mohammad, 30.
The UNO of Pirganj could not be reached for comments.
Deputy Commissioner Mahbubur Rahman last night said he heard that a man was killed and five others injured in this connection.
In Lakshmipur, Sajjad Hossian Sajib, president of Chhatra League in Ramganj upazila's Ischapur union, was killed in a clash between supporters of AL chairman candidate Shahnaz Akter and party rebel Amir Hossain Khan yesterday afternoon.
Sajib died when he was being rushed to Dhaka around 5:00pm, said Mohammad Riaz, a relative of the deceased.
According to police and local sources, supporters of Amir tried to capture the Nayanpur Govt Primary School centre around 3:30pm and Sajjad protested it. Later, a clash broke out and Sajjad was hacked allegedly by Amir's men.
Amir could not be reached for comments.
In Khulna, Babul Shikder, 38, a supporter of AL chairman candidate Md Mohsin in Madhupur union of Terokhada upazila, died yesterday morning. He had sustained injuries in pre-polls violence on Saturday night.
Mohsin alleged that some supporters of party rebel candidate for the union's chairman post, Kamal Hossain, attacked his supporter Babul and stabbed him.
Babul was taken to Khulna Medical College Hospital where doctors declared him dead yesterday morning, said Mohsin.
The Daily Star could not reach Kamal.
In Jashore, Qutub Uddin, 30, was killed in a clash between AL chairman candidate Hassan Firoz Tinku and independent Altaf Hossain, in Kayba union of Sharsha upazila.
Tinku claimed supporters of Altaf carried out the attack. Altaf said the incident was planned to prevent voters from going to polling centres.
In Gaibandha's Sundarganj upazila, supporters AL candidate Shahidul Islam allegedly captured the Boulzan Govt Primary School centre for half an hour from 11:30am, locals said.
Shahidul denied the allegation.
Police and Ansar charged batons to control the situation and fired 10 shots. Two police men were hurt during a clash between AL supporters, said Abdullahil Zaman, OC of Sundarganj Police Station.
Locals alleged that many entered the booth-3 at Shibpur Govt Primary School in Meherpur and casted "votes" for "boat", the electoral symbol of the AL candidates.
In Moulvibazar, AL candidate's polling agents took ballot papers from several female voters in Mohammadnagar Govt Primary School centre of Dakkhin Shahbajpur union.
Voting was suspended at Deuatoli Government Primary School centre at Barura union of Cumilla as presiding officer Golam Sarwar Bhuiyan and on-duty Sub-inspector Abu Hanif were stabbed around 11:00am, said Barura Upazila Returning Officer Azharul Islam.
Supporters of independent Golam Mostafa for Panchasar Union of Munshiganj hacked AL candidate Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir's polling agent Mohammad Azim, said Mohiuddin.
At least 10 people were injured in a clash between two member candidates outside a centre at Char Kukuri Mukri UP in Char Fashion Upazila of Bhola district. A clash between supporters of AL candidates and party rebels left 10 injured at Merung union of Diginala upazila of Khagracharhi.
[Our correspondents in the district contributed to this report]