11 killed in Bangladesh election violence

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At least 10 opposition activists and an ansar member were killed in six districts as violent clashes, aimed at foiling the 10th general election, erupted today across the country centring the controversial polls boycotted by the opposition.

Scores of polling stations — mostly schools — and election materials have been torched and vandalised, forcing the election office to suspend voting at 161.

Frustrated over the one-sided nature of the polls, voters also seem to be afraid of the widespread violence that began with attacks on the polling centres Friday night.

The eleven were killed in Dinajpur, Rangpur, Nilphamari, Feni, Munshiganj and Laxmipur districts.

Meantime, a pro-BNP man hurt in a clash with Awami League activists in Lalmonirhat Saturday, succumbed to his injuries at Rangpur Medical College and Hospital early today.

The opposition has boycotted the vote and slapped a two-day hartal (shutdown) announcing to resist the election which it termed ‘a farce’.

Two activists of Jamaat-e-Islami were killed as police opened fire while they were trying to seize a polling centre in Pirgachha upazila of Rangpur around 1:30am, Maqbul Hossain, officer-in-charge (OC) of Pirgachha Police Station, told The Daily Star.

In Nilphamari, two people including a Jamaat activist were killed in police firing in Dimla and Jaldhaka upazila.

In Dinajpur, Jamaat-Shibir men, after being resisted from attacking a polling centre, beat dead an ansar member in Parbatipur upazila of Dinajpur this morning.

In Feni, a Jubo Dal activist was killed and two Shibir men were hit by bullets when lawmen opened fire at them to foil their attempt to snatch ballot papers from a polling centre.

Our Munshiganj correspondent reports, an activist of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal died when he jumped into a roadside water-filled ditch in a bid to evade arrest after he tried to hurl petrol bomb at a polling centre.

An activist of Jatiyatabadi Swechchhasebak Dal, a front organisation of main opposition BNP, died a day after he sustained stab injuries allegedly by ruling Awami League men during a clash in Patgram upazila of Lalmonirhat.

RANGPUR

One of the deceased, who were killed in police firing in Pirgachha upazila, was identified as Merajul Islam, a local activist of Jamaat, the OC said.

Around 30 to 35 Jamaat men swooped on the on-duty law enforcers with sharp weapons in a bid to occupy Deuty School and College polling centre in Parul union around 1:30am, the police official said.

Police had to fire several shots to resist the attackers that left two Jamaat activists dead on the spot.

NILPHAMARI

Jahangir Alam, 22, was killed as police opened fire on a group of Shibir men, who were trying to torch a polling centre at Khalishachapani Government Primary School around 1:00am, reports our Nilphamari correspondent quoting Abu Rafa, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Dimla.

Voting at the centre has been postponed following the incident.

In Jaldhaka, Mamtajul Haque, 45, an activist of local Jamaat, died on the spot as police opened fire when over 200 Jamaat-Shibir men tried to bar voters from casting their votes at Kaimari Govt Primary School polling centre around 11:00am.

DINAJPUR

Jamaat-Shibir activists beat dead an ansar man and injured five more persons including the presiding officer of a polling centre when they tried to resist them party men from attacking the centre in Parbatipur upazila of Dinajpur.

Two more ansar men and two voters were among the injured.

Sohel Rana, publicity secretary of Shibir district unit, claimed the responsibility of the killing.

Victim, Md Wahed Ali, the ansar member, was posted at Uttar Salandarpur Government Primary School centre, reports our Dinajpur correspondent.

Jamaat-Shibir men armed with sticks attacked the polling centre around 11:00am, Paban Kumar Sarker, the presiding officer of the centre who also sustained injuries in the attack, told The Daily Star.

As the ansar men and the election officials tried to resist them, the Jamaat-Shibir men beat them indiscriminately, leaving Ali dead on the spot.

Voting came to a halt in the centre following the violence.

FENI

Jubo Dal activist Jamshed Alam, 25, was killed and two Shibir men sustained bullet injuries in police firing in Sonagazi upazila around 10:30am.

Police opened fire at the Jubo Dal men following their attempt to snatch ballot papers from Uttor Char Chandia Government Primary School said Subhash Chandra Pal, OC of Sonagazi Police Station.

The injured, one of whom was identified as Shahidullah, were admitted to Sonagazi Upazila Health Complex.

MUNSHIGANJ

Kangkan, 24, joint secretary of JCD Shimulia union in the upazila, died as he being chased by police jumped into a water-filled ditch in Tongibari upazila of the district.

Police chased the JCD leader when he was trying to hurl a petrol bomb at Dakshin Kathadia-Shimulia Government Primary School polling centre around 5:50am, reports our Munshiganj correspondent quoting local UNO Nasreen Parvin.|

Kangkan succumbed when police was taking him to the police station after rescuing him from the ditch.

The law enforcers also recovered the petrol bomb from the spot.

LALMONIRHAT

An activist of Swechchhasebak Dal died a day after AL activists stabbed him during a clash with AL in Patgram, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent.

Farooque Hossain, 34, succumbed to his injuries at Rangpur Medical College Hospital around 5:15am, said Gautam Bishwas, a doctor of the hospital.

He was a member of Swechchhasebok Dal Bawra union unit, reports our Lalmonirhat correspondent quoting Habibul Haque Bosunia, chairman of Bawra Union Parishad.

The clash ensued when AL men resisted local BNP-Jamaat men from holding a rally in favour of its 48-hour hartal at Shafinagar village in the upazila.

Moabarok Hossain, a local leader of Swechchasebak Dal, died on the spot and ten others were injured.

The injured including Farooque was whisked off to Patgram Upazila Health Complex from where they were shifted to RMCH.

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