Supporters of Awami League-backed candidate ‘storm Gulshan centre, stuff ballot boxes’

Awami League-backed councillor candidate Zakir Hossain Babul's supporters charge towards Jubaida Khanam, sister of 'renegade aspirant' Afroz Habib.

Awami League-backed councillor candidate Zakir Hossain Babul’s supporters charge towards Jubaida Khanam, sister of ‘renegade aspirant’ Afroz Habib.

Supporters of a ruling Awami League-backed councillor candidate have allegedly stuffed ballot boxes in a Dhaka North City polling centre even 10 hours before voting was to begin.

Charges of storming the Gulshan centre were brought against the candidate by supporters of his ‘renegade’ rival on Monday night.

Police arrested 10 including the independent candidate, Afroz Habib, and his brother retired Brigadier General Refayat Ullah over the fracas at Kalachandpur High School centre.

Refayat Ullah, also the chief polling agent of the candidate, was claiming that he was being detained because he had protested against supporters of ruling party-backed Zakir Hossain Babul stuffing ballot boxes.

The Habib camp raised allegations that people of Babul took control of the centre with the help of police. Correspondent Golam Mujtaba Dhruba went to the site after being tipped off by a correspondent.

He was threatened by supporters of Babul for speaking to Habib’s people.

A video shot at the site showed a ruling party supporter, who made the threat, sporting t-shirt with a slogan for Babul.

He had an ID card confirming his membership of mayor runner Annisul Huq’s campaign and was locked in a heated argument with Habib’s supporters and sister.

Supporters of both the camps were found angry outside the polling centre.

Kalachandpur High School’s teacher Jubaida Khanam, sister of councillor aspirant Habib, said to “We got news that some outsiders were stamping false votes here with help of law enforcers and immediately put up a resistance along with locals.”

Senior police officials including Gulshan police OC visited the centre.

When asked, a policeman outside the centre, with a name tag that read ‘Mannaf’, told “Senior officials are inside. They can say better what is going on.”

Border Guard Bangladesh personnel went to the scene after hearing about the chaos.

Khanam’s younger brother Shahin Iqbal said, “We heard that something was going on at the poll centre and came here after informing police and the presiding officer.

“When we reached the centre, we found about 50 policemen on the ground floor of the school and the lights were on on the first, second and third floors.

“There was a flurry of activity and Babul’s supporters were seen running around the building.

“Habib and Refayet Ullah along with some other supporters went to the centre to ask what was going on. Police at the centre pulled them in and started beating them with sticks,” he said.

Habib, who is Dhaka Metropolitan Swechhashebak League’s joint secretary, had solicited Awami League’s endorsement, failing to get which he is running as an independent candidate.

His brother Refayat Ullah headed the first project for Machine Readable Passport.

Source: bdnews24