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7 dead, over 100 injured during violence-marred polls in Bangladesh

Rivals clash in different areas as voting held for 841 local councils in 2nd phase of nationwide local elections

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 11.11.2021
7 dead, over 100 injured during violence-marred polls in Bangladesh FILE PHOTO

DHAKA, Bangladesh

At least seven people were killed and over 100 wounded in violence during local government elections in Bangladesh on Thursday.

Voting was held for 841 local councils, known as union parishads, in nationwide elections that are being held in phases, with Thursday’s round being the second phase.

Clashes were reported between supporters of candidates backed by the Awami League and independents looking to thwart the ruling party’s bid to further tighten its grip on power in the country of some 165 million.

The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has boycotted the elections, accusing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government of intimidation and malpractices.

Officials confirmed that three people died in the central Narshindhi district, two in Cumilla, and one each in Cox’s Bazar and the port city of Chattogram.

News channels broadcast scenes of rival factions confronting each other with guns, knives, hockey sticks and other weapons.

Security forces were also seen using batons to control unruly mobs at polling centers.

The Bangladesh Election Commission condemned the violence and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

However, Humayun Kabir Khandaker, the commission’s secretary, stressed that there was no violence at polling stations as “law enforcers did their best to ensure voting took place peacefully.”

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal tried to downplay the violence, but asserted that authorities will bring all perpetrators to account.

“These elections are always highly charged. They are a battle between communities who want to establish their supremacy (over each other) and such clashes are very common,” he said.

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