The third phase of the ongoing upazila elections has already been marked out by the level of violence and allegations of election irregularities raised on the day, even before voting hours closed.
Probably the deadliest incident, in Bagerhat’s Kachua upazila, resulted in the death of a Shibir activist, identified as Manjarul Islam, 24. Son of Afzal Hossain of Tengrakhali village, he was part of Shibir’s Bagerhat PC College unit.
Mohammad Nizamul Haque Mollah, Bagerhat’s superintendent of police, narrated that the supporters of Jamaat-backed vice chairman candidate Advocate Mostakin Billah had been canvassing voters on his behalf.
When Rafiqul Islam, 48, an activist of Karapara union parishad unit Awami League and son of Kashem Sheikh, tried to resist them, they beat him up mercilessly and smashed his head with bricks, leaving him critically injured.
Later the supporters of Awami League fought back and attacked the Jamaat-Shibir men. It was then that Manjarul Islam got hit with a brick that smashed his head, leaving him dead on the spot.
Chauddagram BNP-supported candidate Kamrul Huda at a press conference demanded suspension of the vote-casting on allegation of polls irregularities and vote-rigging.
Besides, voting of a polling centre was suspended due to sporadic clashes between men of BNP-backed chairman candidate and AL-blessed chairman contender at Barella union of Burichang upazila.
Moreover, the law enforcers detained seven people during occupying Mahalpara polling station in Brahmanpara upazila.
In Chittagong, men of AL-blessed chairman candidate torched two houses and candle factory of BNP-Jamaat men at Terial area in Sitakunda around 11:15am.
A person named Didar was injured in the incident, while an army member, who was at his ancestral house on leave, Kanu De sustained injuries as he went to douse the fire.
Besides, at least seven people were injured in an attack when the supporters of an AL-backed candidate attack on the motorcade of 19-party-backed chairman candidate in Chandnaish upazila on Saturday
In another incident, police arrested three supporters of AL-backed candidate Abdul Kashem when they allegedly tried to occupied the Dohazari union parishad complex polling centre in the upazila at about 10:45 am.
A woman was injured as a crude bomb went off at Mahini polling centre in Nangalkot upazila.
The balloting in the third phase upazila election began at 8:00 am and will continue till 4:00 pm without any break.
A total of 1,119 candidates are contesting the elections against 243 posts in the 81 upazilas. Of them, 419 are chairman candidates, 423 vice chairman contenders and 277 vice chairman candidates for the post set aside for women.
There are 1,31,85,013 voters — 65,48,772 males and 66,17,182 females — who can exercise their franchise in 35,331 booths of 5,444 polling stations in the upazilas.