Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | ePaper

Police must be neutral and ensure violence free polls

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THE New Nation yesterday reported that polls atmosphere across the country is becoming violent day by day following the clashes between Awami League and BNP, and increasing internal feud in both the parties. At least three persons were killed in clashes while several hundred AL and BNP activists injured after the election campaign began formally on Tuesday. At one stage, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Wednesday said that the Commission felt embarrassed at the Tuesday's attack on BNP's Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's motorcade in Thakurgaon district. Earlier, the Awami League-led grand alliance men allegedly also carried out attacks and firings on their opponents in several other districts. They also allegedly set fire on houses of some opposition party activists.
In Thakurgaon, BNP Secretary General's motorcade was attacked reportedly by some 40-50 men with sticks and sharp weapons when he went to Danarhat, Thakurgaon Sadar to meet families of detained BNP leaders. Fakhrul's Personal Secretary Eunus Ali said there was a police van parked nearby when the attack took place. Bani Amin, Awami League President of Begunbari Union, rejected the accusation and said rogues from BNP and Jamaat were involved.
Meanwhile, two Awami League leaders were killed in pre-election violence in Noakhali and Faridpur on Tuesday. In Faridpur, a local AL leader was killed in an attack allegedly by BNP supporters at Goaldangi in Sadar Upazila at night. Forty-year-old Yusuf Al Mamun was the Cultural Affairs Secretary of AL local union unit.
The attacks and counter attacks don't do the Election Commission or the parties involved any credit--especially as the elections are literally around the corner. The police should play a more pro-active role in safeguarding those who have been nominated by the various parties involved and look after their safety with zeal, irregardless of their party affiliation.
Any act of violence skews or diminishes the expectation of an impartial election as it shows that violence can act as intimidation and thus reduce the possibility of people being able to elicit votes.

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