Violence peaks day before vote | The Daily Star
12:02 AM, January 05, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:38 AM, March 08, 2015

Violence peaks day before vote

Violence peaks day before vote

Asstt presiding officer killed, at least 100 polling centres torched, ballot papers snatched, cops attacked

A journalist's motorbike burns in Khandar intersection area of Bogra town yesterday, the day before the national election. Activists of the main opposition BNP, which boycotts the election and is out to resist it apparently by violence, torched the vehicle though the journalist gave his identity and pleaded repeatedly not to do that. Photo: Star
A journalist's motorbike burns in Khandar intersection area of Bogra town yesterday, the day before the national election. Activists of the main opposition BNP, which boycotts the election and is out to resist it apparently by violence, torched the vehicle though the journalist gave his identity and pleaded repeatedly not to do that. Photo: Star

At least 100 polling centres in 23 districts were torched while an assistant presiding officer was beaten to death and another severely burnt in Thakurgaon by opposition activists yesterday and early today.
Most of the centres burnt were set up in educational institutions. Some were gutted completely.
Police and locals said the attacks had been carried out to foil today's 10th parliamentary polls to be held in 59 districts amid non-stop blockade and 48-hour hartal by the opposition alliance.
On the attacks on schools, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid said the arson on educational institutions would hamper academic activities of children as it would take a few months to repair those.
In Thakurgaon, a group of 100 to 150 BNP-Jamaat men with sharp weapons and sticks swooped on Molani Cheprikura Govt Primary School in Roypur union under sadar upazila around 8:45pm yesterday.
They first charged crude and petrol bombs and then attacked the polling officers and law enforcers.
The attack left assistant presiding officer Zobaidul Haque, 55, also demonstrator at Salondar College, dead and two police constables critically injured. Another assistant presiding officer, Rezaul Karim, suffered severe burns during the attack.
Rushed to Thakurgaon Sadar hospital, Zobaidul was declared dead by the duty doctor. The constables and the poll official are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
In Comilla, the authorities last night suspended voting at four polling centres under Manoharganj upazila after anti-polls activists had burnt down the centres and all the election materials there around 10:30pm.
The centres are Saraspur, Baishgaon and Batabaria primary schools and Laxmanpur High School, confirmed personal assistant of district returning officer Tofazzal Hossain Miah.
The national flag, portrait of Bangabandhu and books were burnt when opposition activists hurled a petrol bomb inside the office room of Borali Govt Primary School, a polling centre, in Dinajpur Sadar upazila.
In Rangpur, ballot boxes and ballots were snatched and torched in seven polling centres. During the time the attackers injured presiding officers and Ansar members of the centres.
In Gaibandha, opposition activists last night snatched and torched ballot papers, ballot boxes and other poll materials of 17 centres. They also set fire to five polling centres, all of them schools, in Palashbari upazila.
The agitators vandalised at least 35 vehicles on Rangpur-Bogra highway in Palashbari.
Syed Farhad Hossain, upazila Nirbahi officer of Sadullahpur, Gaibandha, said fresh poll material would immediately be sent to those centres and that additional police had been deployed to ensure security.
Ballot boxes and papers were snatched from two centres in Tangail and a centre in Lalmonirhat sadar. The incidents left five people, including presiding officers and Ansar members, hurt.
In Lalmonirhat, two police constables were injured critically as anti-polls activists hurled crude bombs at a police vehicle carrying election material near Kurshamari High School polling centre in the town yesterday around 9:30pm.
Before the attack they had vandalised the polling centre.
Two crude bombs were hurled at the Jongra High School polling centre in Patgram upazila around 10:00pm. Two unidentified youth received severe mob beating for hurling the bombs.
The activists also vandalised six polling centres at Patgram, Hatibandha and Lalmonirhat sadar upazila between 9:00pm and 10:00pm.
Earlier in the day, during hartal hours, a ward unit leader of Swechchhasebak Dal, pro-BNP volunteers' body, was hacked to death in a clash between BNP-Jamaat and ruling Awami League activists at the bordering village of Shafinagar in Patgram. At least eight AL and two BNP men received stab injuries during the clash.
The deceased has been identified as Mobarok Hossain, president of ward-4 in Bawra union unit of Swechchhasebak Dal.
Jamaat-Shibir men also set fire to historic Parapukur temple in Shafinagar village and severely beat up seven Hindu people.
In Jessore, 10 police and Ansar members were injured when Jamaat-Shibir hurled a petrol bomb at their vehicle in Samoskati village, a stronghold of Jamaat.
As the law enforcers came out of the burning vehicle, the attackers beat them up. The inured were undergoing treatment at Monirampur upazila health complex.
In Rajshahi, two BNP activists were caught with three petrol bombs yesterday evening after they had blasted crude bombs at a polling centre. The blast left two police constables injured.
In Jhenidah, three policemen were wounded when criminals stabbed them at a polling centre in Kotchandpur upazila around 11:00pm.
In Natore railway station, at least 12 passengers of Dinajpur-bound train Ekota Express were injured when BNP activists set fire to one of its compartments by hurling a petrol bomb yesterday morning.
Most of the passengers sustained injuries while getting off the compartment, said Aslam Hossain, officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station.

A squad of the army on patrol at Mirpur Sector-12 in the capital on the eve of today's 10th parliamentary election. Photo: SK Enamul Haq
A squad of the army on patrol at Mirpur Sector-12 in the capital on the eve of today's 10th parliamentary election. Photo: SK Enamul Haq

A clash between the BNP men, and Awami League activists and law enforcer had erupted right before the attack.
The AL and BNP activists again locked into a clash in rail station market area two hours later. This time the law enforcers had to use 15 bullets and 10 teargas canisters to bring the situation under control, reports our Natore correspondent.
In Bogra, blockaders also set ablaze a truck in Mymensingh town and two motorcycles -- one of a journalist and other of an election commission officer.
In Kurigram town, five people were injured in a clash between BNP and AL activists around 12.05pm.
Criminals set fire to electoral material and equipment yesterday evening while those were being transported to Chittagong.
In the port city, police arrested Shibir activist Hasan Al Banna, 28, with four crude bombs on Syed Shah Road of Bakalia on Friday night.
Md Mohsin, officer-in-charge of Bakalia Police Station, said Banna was one of the petrol bomb makers and Shibir cadres involved in violence in the port city.
In Barisal, arsonists set fire to a pick-up truck around 9.15pm yesterday injuring three. They were rushed to Shere Bangla Medical College Hospital.
Among them one Shariful Sheikh sustained severe burn injuries, burning 60 percent of his body.
In another incident, another pick-up truck was set on fire in Jhalakathi around 10.30pm yesterday, injuring one.
The driver Mohammad Mostofa Kamal, 30 was rushed to Jhalakathi Sadar Hospital.
The arson-hit districts also include Nilphamari, Narsingdi, Kishoreganj, Feni,   Netrakona, Sylhet, Sunamganj, Moulvibazar, Laxmipur, Mymensingh, Chandpur, Dinajpur and Brahmanbaria.
In the capital, two people were injured in crude bomb explosions at Islambagh and Manda areas last night. They were rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital.
Criminals have reportedly blasted crude bombs all over the city.
Seven vehicles were torched in different upazilas of Gazipur by hartal supporters.
In one of the arson incidents, a truck driver received burn injuries on Dhaka-Tangail road in Mouchak. The driver was rushed to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with 40 percent burns.

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