Opposition supporters indulged in torching of polling centres in Feni, Chittagong, Brahmanbaria, Nilphamari, Dinajpur and Barisal throughout Friday in keeping with Khaleda Zia’s call to stop parliamentary elections.
Apart from the acts of arson, they also hurled crude bombs at the Satkhira election office. Schools and colleges are usually used as polling centres during national elections.
Hours after the BNP-led 18-Party alliance called a 48-hour shutdown to foil Sunday’s polls, two polling centres were torched in Feni and Chittagong.
Opposition supporters set fire to a polling centre at Feni’s Sonagazi Upazila at around 10:15pm.
Sonagazi police OC Subhash Chandra Pal said petrol was used to torch rooms of Annadacharan Government School under the Nawabpur Union.
He said locals had rushed to the spot and brought the flames under control. A room of the school had been damaged in the fire, the police officer said.
In Chittagong, polling tools at a voting centre in Sitakunda had been set on fire at around 9:30pm.
Sitakunda Police Station’s OC Iftekhar Hasan said bamboos, clothes and chairs that were supposed to be used to make polling booths were torched.
He said the damage was not heavy since members of the law-enforcing agencies had arrived at the scene.
Five schools, selected to be used as polling centres, were torched in Feni’s Daganbhuiyan in the early hours of Friday.
Two educational institutions housing the polling centres had been gutted and two others were partially damaged, police said adding that it was possible to douse the fire before it could spread to another.
The acts of sabotage had been carried out around the same time in the wee hours of Friday, Daganbhuiyan police OC Md Nizam Uddin had said.
All the five education institutions were set to be used as polling centres during Sunday’s elections.
In Barisal, miscreants torched a school, enlisted as a balloting centre under Babuganj Upazila’s Madhabpasha.
A witness said a room of the Madhabpasha School and College was set afire at around 9:30pm on Friday. Locals doused the flames minutes later.
Babuganj police said the damage was not much.
At around 11pm, the Badur Government Primary School was torched in Nilphamari’s Domra Upazila.
Domra police Sub-Inspector Shahinur Rahman said a room of the school had been damaged in the fire.
Around the same time, there was an attempted arson at the Gobachora Government Primary School under the same Upazila.
Domra OC Kafil Uddin said miscreants used kerosene for the arson.
He said the fire was contained soon by the locals and the damage was not much.
Two schools were pelted with Molotov cocktails on Friday night at Dinajpur Sadar Upazila.
Kotwali police OC Altaf Hossain said the miscreants had torched the Tafiruddin Memorial School and the Chandganj High School around 10:30pm.
Locals had rushed to the scene and doused the flames, he said.
In Brahmanbaria, miscreants exploded two Molotov cocktails at Kandiparha Madrasa Government Primary School, selected to be used as a polling centre for Sunday’s elections.
There were no casualties from the bomb attack as the school was closed, police said.
Sadar Police Station OC Md Abdur Rab told bdnews24.com the miscreants hurled the bombs at two rooms on the ground and first floor of the school building.
Police from the station got there after locals called them seeing fire and smoke.
However, OC Rab said the fire was put out before they arrived at the scene.
In a separate development, two handmade bombs had been hurled at Satkhira election office on Friday night.
Sadar police OC Enamul Haq said the bombs were exploded at around 8:30pm.
He said police had fired 20 rounds in the air.
Police suspect Islami Chhatra Shibir activists for the explosions.
None has been injured in the explosions and arsons.
Police are yet to detain anyone over the acts of sabotage.
As many as 153 single candidates have won uncontested due to the Opposition’s boycott. Balloting will take place in 147 constituencies. There are 18,208 polling centres in the 147 constituencies.
Source: Bd news24