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Wednesday, April 22, 2015, Baishakh 9, 1422 BS, Rajab 2, 1436 Hijr

EC decides army deployment sans magistracy power
Published : Wednesday, 22 April, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 28

Special Correspondent
The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday finally decided to seek deployment of army during April 26-29 for holding elections to three city corporations in Dhaka and Chittagong.
Elections to the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) are scheduled for April 28.
"We have decided deployment of army in order to re-assure voters from a psychological point of view, although the Commission has observed that the law and order situation in three city corporations is under control," Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakib Uddin Ahmed told the media on Tuesday evening.
He said that the army would act as a reserve and striking force along with the regular law enforcing agencies like the police and BGB, adding that the force would be deployed outside the polling stations.
The CEC further said that the returning officers in the three city corporations would decide where and when the force needed to be deployed during those days.
Replying to a question on BNP's allegation that the EC was not ensuring a level-playing field for all candidates and the ruling party's muscleman attacked BNP Chairperson's rally at Karwanbazar, the CEC said, "Two cases have been filed in this regard. However, we directed the police to investigate the cases in a free and fair manner so that the EC could take its next course of actions."
"From today no policeman can harass any candidate, I assure you all," the CEC said.
Referring to a meeting with the members of law-enforcing agencies, the CEC said that the members of the law enforcing agencies apprised the EC that the law and order situation was good.
"Just to boost confidence of the voters that they could cast their votes freely the EC on Tuesday unanimously decided to get army deployed in all three city corporations from 26 to 29 April," said the CEC. He said the army would be deployed without any magistracy power but they would be able to act as per demand of the situation.
Meanwhile, a three-member delegation of BNP led by  Barrister Jamiruddin Sircar sat with the CEC and alleged that the police and law enforcing agencies were harassing the BNP-backed candidates in all three city areas. They also mentioned the attack on Khaleda Zia's motorcade on Monday.
Following the meeting BNP presidium member Barrister Moudud Ahmed told the media that deployment of army without magistracy power would not bring any change to the ongoing tense situation in three city corporations.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning Tabith Awal, the BNP-backed mayoral candidate in DNCC, lodged a complaint with the EC Secretariat alleging that they were obstructed while conducting election campaign by the ruling party men.
The CEC said that the law-enforcing agencies also assured the Commission of extending their cooperation in various other areas, including the use of CCTV cameras, management of voters and other technological assistances.
"Necessary measures should be taken to ensure peaceful voting environment and check occupation of polling centres and hijacking of ballot papers and ballot boxes," CEC remarked adding that everything would be clear within a couple of days.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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