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Thursday, March 31, 2016, Chaitra 17, 1422 BS, Jamadius Sani 21, 1437 Hijri

Death toll from polls violence climbs to 6
Observer Online Desk
Published :Thursday, 31 March, 2016,  Time : 8:32 PM  View Count : 7
Six people were killed and at least 60 others injured in clashes in different parts of the country during the second phase union parishad election on Thursday.

The deceased were identified as Sanaullah, Ibrahim and Jamal, of Sandwip upazila of Chittagong, Rafiqul Islam,50, of Shyampur union of Melandah upazila in Jamalpur, Shuva, 10, son of Halim of Dhalikandi village in Keraniganj upazila, Dhaka and Golap Hossain of Chanchra union in Sadar upazila, Jessore.

In Chittagong, three people were killed and seven people injured in a clash at Char Bauria union of Sandwip upazila.

Executive magistrate Md Wahidul Haque said supporters of two member candidates of 5 No ward in the union locked into the clash around 3:30pm over snatching ballot papers from the centre.

The supporters of both candidates opened fire which left two people-- Sanaullah, Ibrahim -- dead on the spot and seven others injured.

The injured were taken to upazila health complex where Jamal succumbed to his injuries.

In Jamalpur, supporters of the two member candidates locked in a clash at Uttar Baluchar Government Primary School polling centre around 11:15 am at Shyampur union in Melandah upazila.

Both the groups fought a pitched battle chasing each other. During the melee, a brick chip was hurled form one side that hit Rafiqul Islam, 50, leaving him dead on the spot, witnesses said.

Another person was also injured in the clash, they said.

However, officer-in-charge of Melandah Police Station Nasimul Islam said Rafiqul died of heart attack while waiting in a long queue for casting vote.

In Keraniganj upazila, a minor boy, identified as Shuva, 10, son of Halim of Dhalikandi village, was killed as he received stray bullets during a gunfight at a polling centre in Madhurchar during the balloting.

Quoting witnesses, officer-in-charge of Keraniganj Model Police Station Ferdous Hossain said a group of BNP supporters and another of Awami League locked into a clash over capturing Madhurchar Govt Primary School polling station around 10:20am. But he could not provide further details of the incident.

In Jessore, a man was gunned down during a clash between the supporters of two chairman candidates at Chanchara union in Sadar upazila.

Officer-in-charge of Sadar Police Station Elias Hossain said the supporters of AL-nominated and AL-rebel candidates engaged in a clash at Bhaturia Government Primary School polling centre in Chanchra union around 11:00 am.

Both the groups engaged in a chase and counter-chase and opened fire at each other, leaving Golap Hossain dead on the spot and two others injured.

The injured were admitted to Jessore 250-bed General Hospital.

Meanwhile, 11 chairman candidates boycotted the election in eight union parishads in Sitakunda upazila of Chittagong, Gazipur union of Chandpur, Chowara and Boropara unions under Comilla South upazila, Urfa union parishad in Nakla upazila under Sherpur and Jadabpur union under Jhenidah district on charges of various irregularities. Eight of them belong to BNP, two to AL (rebel), while one is an independent candidate.

Voting at a polling centre in Nayanagar union of Melandah upazila under Jamalpur was suspended as miscreants tried to snatch ballot boxes before the start of the voting in the morning.

Meanwhile, five people were injured as a clash broke during an attempt by the supporters of Jatiya Party and BNP-backed chairman candidates to resist an alleged bid of Awami League-backed candidate to capture a polling centre at Khoshbash union in Barura upazila.

BNP-backed chairman candidate Zakir Hossain and JP-backed chairman candidate Shah Alam were among the injured. Police also recovered five crude bombs from the spot and picked up five people from the scene for quizzing.

Police arrested an assistant presiding officer as he allegedly facilitated fake vote casting in favour of the Awami League-backed chairman candidate at Churamankathi in Jessore Sadar upazila in the morning.

Police also arrested an agent of the AL candidate, Babul Hossain.

During the first phase union parishad polls on March 22, at least 11 people were killed in violence across the country.

Earlier, voting in the election to 639 union parishads of 82 upazilas across 47 of the country's 64 districts began at 8 am and it will continue till 4 pm without any break.

As many as 31 chairman candidates, all from ruling Awami League, have already been elected unopposed as there was no rival against their respective posts in the 2nd phase of the UP polls.

Of the 31 chairman posts that won uncontested, 14 are in Gopalganj, six in Joypurhat, three in Jessore, two in each Dhaka and Madaripur, one each in Kishoreganj and Munshiganj, Sherpur and Sirajganj.

According to the statistics provided by the Election Commission on Wednesday, a total of 2,662 chairman contenders, including some 1493 from 17 political parties and 1,169 independent candidates are in the election races in the UPs.

Candidates from two major political parties -- ruling Awami League and its archrival BNP - are frontrunners in the election. But BNP has no chairman candidate in 79 Ups, while AL has got candidates in all the 639 UPs.


Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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