Awami League men blamed for coercing BNP supporters in Chittagong

‘Both plainclothes and uniformed law enforcers conducted illegal raids on our supporters’ residences and threatened them’

As Chittagong voters ready themselves to head to the polling centres tomorrow, allegations have again been raised against Awami League men of attacking and intimidating BNP supporters with threats to keep them away from voting.

“A huge number of Awami League’s men from outside [Chittagong] have taken positions across the city, attacking the residences our polling agents and some BNP-backed ward councillors as well as issuing threats to stop them from working for [mayoral candidate] Manjur,” said BNP’s Chittagong city unit President Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury.

“Non-residents in the Chittagong city were supposed to leave the city within early Sunday but several ministers, Awami League lawmakers, some leaders with criminal records are still staying here. They came for campaigning but nobody left the city.

“We heard that more outsiders will come tomorrow [today] morning. Those who are already here are threatening the polling agents not to go to the polling centre.”

Addressing a press briefing in his residence yesterday, Khasru also blamed the EC for playing a silent role. “The Election Commission, police and administration are assuring their [outsiders’] safe stay by ignoring them.”

Khasru, the chief polling agent for BNP-backed mayoral candidate M Manjur Alam, added: “Both plainclothes and uniformed law enforcers conducted illegal raids on our supporters’ residences and threatened them against working in the election.”

“Many of our leaders and activists were picked up and harassed by ruling party men and plainclothes [police] men, while some incumbent councillors were also harassed,” he added.

The BNP leader also alleged that the ruling party candidate were distributing money to both voters and poll officials including the presiding officers.

“Already most of the guest houses, rest houses and residential hotels of the city are filled with the ruling party’s terrorist and cadres from outside [the city] who would create anarchy on election day,” he said.

However, Awami League-backed candidate AJM Nasir Uddin denied the allegations, saying the BNP was falling victim to such incidents because of their internal conflicts.

“If I want to influence the election process, I can do many other activities by power,” Nasir said; adding that he wanted a fair, free and neutral election.

Source: Dhaka Tribune