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Violence leaves 5 including polling official dead, dozens injured

English.news.cn   2014-01-05 12:40:28            

DHAKA, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- A polling official and four opposition supporters were killed in poll violence in a number of Bangladesh districts on Sunday morning, sources said.

They said Jobaidur Rahman, 45, assistant presiding officer of a polling center in northwestern Thakurgaon district, was killed by unidentified miscreants hours before the start of the elections boycotted by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies.

According to the sources, at least five on-duty police officials were also injured as the miscreant launched attack on the polling center in Thakurgaon, some 407 km away of capital Dhaka.

Two activists of Jamaat were killed in Rangpur district, some 302 km northwest of capital Dhaka, as opposition supporters fought pitched battles with the law enforcers to resist vote in a polling center, they said.

Another death was reported from Nilphamari, some 360 km northwest of Dhaka, where an opposition man died after police opened fire to thwart attack on a poll center.

Dozens of people including policemen and opposition men have reportedly been injured in the violent incidents.

Apart from this, an activist of BNP's youth wing who was critically injured Saturday in a clash with ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party men in Lalmonirhat, some 343 km northwest of capital Dhaka, died at a hospital in Rangpur early Sunday.

But no police official was available for comment on the killings.

An Election Commission official told Xinhua at about 9:45 am local time that the commission has been forced to postpone vote in 37 polling centers due to violence.

The official preferred to be unnamed said about 18,000 polling stations set up in schools and other public buildings opened at 8: 00 a.m. local time until 4 p.m..

Mired in controversy, Bangladesh's 10th parliamentary election is being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid boycott by the main opposition and its allies.

Some 21 parties including ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's BNP are boycotting the elections over Hasina's refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the parliament polls that will end in certain victory for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after the opposition boycotted the "farcical" contest.

BNP's deputy chief Tarique Rahman through a video statement from London Saturday urged people to resist the elections at any cost.

He made the plea just a day after his mother Khaleda Zia, chairperson of BNP, made similar call for boycotting the polls.

Urging people not to cast their ballots, Khaleda's 18-party alliance began a two-day strike in protest at what it called a " scandalous farce" elections.

The violence that has continued unabated in recent months intensified on the eve of the polling day. Scores of polling centers in Bangladesh capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country have been torched despite beefed security measures with deployment of around 400,000 police and paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel and tens of thousands of Army troops. Hasina's AL and 11 small parties have participated in the elections.

Editor: Shen Qing
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