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OCs drive voters out of polling centre

Bangladesh on 01 April 2014
Location : Bangladesh | Source : New Age Bd. Image Source: flickr user Joe Athialy

Officers-in-charge of three police stations in Satkhira on Monday allegedly drove out voters from the polling station at Agardari Kamil Madrasah in the sadar Upazila as they did not vote in January 5 parliamentary polls.

Witnesses said Satkhira sadar police station OC Enamul Haque Biswas, Kaliganj police station OC Golam Rahman and Shalikha police station OC Biplob Kumar Nath arrived at the polling station at around 11:00am when about two hundred woman voters were standing in the queue to cast their votes.

The police officials started asking the voters whether they had cast vote in the January 5 parliamentary polls.

Shortly after the voters replied in the negative, the constables started beating them with the rifle butts and sticks. 

The constables were heard shouting, ‘Get out of the centre. You did not vote in the January 5 polls, why have you then come to vote this time?’   

Law enforcers also obstructed newsmen when they were filming the scene shouting, ‘Do not film this scene’.

When contacted as to why they drove voters out of the centre, Enamul Haque Biswas told New Age that they did not drive out the voters. ‘The voters themselves rather fled the centre out of fear after seeing us.’

‘Later, we brought them back to the centre and helped them in casting their voters,’ Enamul claimed.

Asked what action the authorities were taking against the OCs, Satkhira deputy commissioner Nazmul Ahsan said neither he nor the additional deputy commissioner, who is also the returning officer, knew anything about the incident. Locals alleged that the ruling party men, in connivance with the law enforcers and local administration, stuffed ballot boxes even on Sunday night in favour of the AL-backed candidates in the Upazila polls. 

Besides, law enforcers recovered about 700 ballot papers stamped in favour of the ruling party-supported chairman candidate from a room of Satkhira Government Boys’ High School centre when newsmen saw those. 

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