Allow only ‘boat voters’ at centres

The Daily Star December 24, 2018

Allow only ‘boat voters’ at centres

AL candidate asks the party men

Natore-2 Awami League candidate and lawmaker Shafiqul Islam Shimul said no one other than the voters of the “boat” symbol would go to the polling centres on December 30 and instructed his party to ensure victory of the boat symbol by only letting boat voters into the vote centres.

Shimul was seen making the statements in a video footage taken while he was electioneering at Chhatni village on December 17.

“Those who will vote for boat can go to voting centres. Those who won’t cannot go to voting centres. It is as simple as that,” Shimul was seen saying in the video footage.

In blatant violation of the electoral code of conduct, Shimul was seen in a video footage threatening BNP men of “tougher actions against them” and asking them to work for the boat symbol to save their lives.

“I am directing my people…any worker or supporter of the ‘sheaf of paddy’ will not go to the vote centres.”

The Daily Star obtained a copy of the footage which had been shared by many people over the last few days.

“If you want your own good, if you want to remain in good health and live in the area, work with our leaders and activists by joining them,” Shimul was seen saying in the video.

“If you go on another path, you have to face tough actions after the December 30 elections… no one can stop the boat [symbol] from achieving victory on December 30.”

He said the people of the district are living in peace under the present government and he said he would do whatever it took to maintain that peace.

In the constituency, after BNP Organising Secretary Ruhul Kuddus Talukder Dulu’s nomination was cancelled, his wife Sabina Yasmin Chhobi was selected as the BNP candidate.

Speaking to The Daily Star over phone, Chhobi said, she had been refraining from campaigning in most areas of the constituency fearing attacks. “Due to the lawmaker’s statement, AL leaders and activists have assaulted the BNP men who were electioneering with me,” she said.

“Attacks on our men are occurring every day. It appears that a reign of terror has been prevailing in my area,” she said.

The BNP candidate said she had filed a complaint regarding the video footage with the returning officer and emailed him a copy of the footage on December 20.

She claimed at least 150 of her men were injured since electioneering began and her complaints with the RO in this regard were ignored.

Contacted, RO Mohammad Shahriaz said he came to know about the video footage yesterday.

“I will send this video and the information to the law enforcers and if       they find it to be true, we will take action,” he said.

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