Seven people, including five on election duty, were killed and 20 others were injured in a gun attack on a motorcade carrying election officials and materials on Sajek-Khagrachhari road at Noimile under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati Monday evening.
The victims were on their way to Baghaichari upazila headquarters with election materials on completion polling and counting at two polling stations — Konglak Government Primary School and Masalang polling centre — under Sajek thana, police officials said.
Six of the victims were killed on the spot and another succumbed to the injuries at Combined Military Hospital in Chattogram, Baghaichari upazila nirbahi officer Md Nadim Sarwar told New Age at 9:00pm.
Six people — assistant presiding officer and Kishaloy Govt Primary School teacher Amir Hossain, 40, Ansar member Al-Amin, 18, village defence party team leader Mihir Kanti Dutta, 40, VDP members Jahanara Begum, 40 and Bilkis, 40, and passerby Mantu Chakma — were killed on the spot, said Rangamati additional superintendent of police Sufi Ullah.
Injured pedestrian Abu Tayab died at hospital, he said.
He said that four of the injured were police personnel — sub-inspector Billal, assistant sub-inspector Rajab Ali and constables Abdul Alim and Enamul — while the rests were election officials, Ansar and VDP members and even pedestrians.
Sufi Ullah said that a group of unidentified miscreants ambushed and open fire on the motorcade carrying the election officials escorted by cops.
On information, the military personnel, cops and Border Guard Bangladesh members from nearby areas rushed the spot, recovered the bodies, rescued the injured with the help of local people and rushed them to Baghaichari Upazila Health Complex.
He said that 11 of the injured were sent to Combined Military Hospital in Chattogram.
The police official said that it was not the proper time to say who carried out the gun attack.
Security was beefed up in the area, police officials said.
They said that ahead of the elections, military personnel were deployed in the hill district.
Barorishi Chakma, nominated by Parbatya Chattogram Jana Samhati Samity (PCJSS-MN Larma), contested the upazila election from Baghaichhari against Sudarshar Chakma of PCJSS (reformists), reported United News of Bangladesh, quoting intelligence sources.
Barorishi, however, boycotted the election halfway through, they said, adding that after the announcement of the boycott various posts were made on Facebook warning of attack.
The second phase of the elections to upazila parishads, boycotted by most opposition parties, was held at 116 upazilas amid violence, violation of electoral code of conduct and low turnout.
The Election Commission suspended polling at eight centres at different upazials out of 7,039 centres in 16 districts.
At a post-election news conference at the commission media centre, its secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed claimed that the elections were held peacefully and turnout increased compared to the first phase of the polls.
According to New Age correspondents and commission officials, ruling Awami League candidates were leading in the polls as the complete results of the polls was not available till 11:00pm.
In most upazilas, ruling Awam League candidates faced rebels as the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies, left parties and most Islamist parties boycotted the polls protesting at the fraud and flaws that marred the December 30 general election.
The commission officials said that over 40 per cent of votes were cast while total voters of the 116 upazilas were 1.79 crore and 377 people contested for the position of chairman, 539 for vice-chairman and 394 women contested for the positions of vice-chair reserved for women.
In the second phase, 23 chairman, 13 vice-chairmen and 12 reserved vice-chairs were elected uncontested and all of them were from the Awami League.
As per the election schedule, the third phase of the upazila elections will be held on March 24, the fourth on March 31 and the fifth phase is likely to be held on June 18.
The commission secretary told the press conference that the commission had a plan to send ballots in the morning of the polling day to the polling stations nearby the upazila headquarters.
He said that the commission had also a plan to send ballots or electronic voting machines to the every polling station in the morning in the next municipal elections.
He said that in the municipal polls, polling would start at 9:00am instead of 8:00am.
News Courtesy: www.newagebd.net