CEC asks intel to look into third party conspiracy

Chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda. File photoChief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Thursday asked the intelligence agencies to ascertain if any third party is complicit with the most recent polls violence.

At a meeting with law enforcement agencies, the former bureaucrat also mentioned about certain legacy of the pre-polls violence that had taken place during the 2014 elections boycotted by the BNP-led opposition parties demanding polls-time governent.

“We can’t take lightly the deterioration in law and order. Political leaders have to be careful about it. It should be found out whether any third party is involved in any conspiracy,” the CEC told the meeting at Nirbachan Bhaban at Agargaon in the city.

Referring to the 2014 violence, Huda insisted that such incidents should not recur.

“Still, possibility of recurrence of such incidents cannot be ruled out… The day after election symbols were distributed, two incidents occured. No matter how triffling they were, two lives were lost,” said the CEC, who earlier said the election commission was embarrassed by the outbreak of pre-polls violence on Tuesday.

While the motorcades and campaigners of BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam and a number of other leaders came under attack, two Awami League activists were killed in the clashes in Noakhali and Faridpur.

“When enthusiasm was created about the elections, two incidents of killing and attacks cannot be considered as isolated incidents,” he said.

The CEC expressed his apprehension that “a powerful quarter which is unwilling to see congenial atmosphere on social, economic and political fronts in this country, may have been active [in conspiracy]”.

Huda called upon the officials of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to perform their duties with professionalism and integrity for ensuring a free, fair and credible election.

“Saving the people’s life and property and maintaining law and order is your responsibility. I hope, you would discharge your duty with neutrality and professionalism,” he said.

He, however, asked the lawmen not to arrest any political activists without any specific allegation.

The CEC once again insisted that the use of electronic voting machine (EVM) can curb at least 80 per cent irregularities in elections.

“We think we would be able to ensure the people’s right to vote by using EVMs,” Huda said.

The opposition coalition had earlier expressed reservation about the use of EVMs. The EC has decided to use it only in six constituencies.

The CEC also urged the law enforcers to ensure the safety of minority and female voters.

He said the commission has already completed 95 per cent preparations for holding the 11th parliamentary elections scheduled to be held on 30 December.

Source: Prothom Alo

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