Supporters of the governing Awami League-backed mayor aspirant in Chittagong have captured at least four polling stations in South Paharhtali and snatched ballots before stamping them, agency reports. Handmade bombs were exploded at one of the voting centres. Polling centres at the BCIR Laboratory High School and Oli Ahmed Government Primary School were captured by Awami League-endorsed AJM Nasir Uddin’s supporters after voting started at 8am on Tuesday.
bdnews24.com Correspondent Mitoon Choudhury found ballot papers stamped on Nasir’s Elephant symbol scattered on the ground. Similar scenes could be found at the voting centres at Fateyabad City Corporation Girls’ High School and Fateyabad College between 10:45am and 11:15am. A few handmade bombs were exploded at the BCIR Laboratory School centre around 7:30am, said Presiding Officer Md Abul Hashem.
He said several ballot papers were snatched from two booths and some of them were returned, but only after they were stamped on Elephant. Around 10am, Magistrate Nure Alam Bhuiyan visited the centre and told reporters that the presiding officer ‘did not complain’ of any untoward incident. Some 1,500 votes out of the 2,510 at Oli Ahmed Primary School centre were cast within two hours after the balloting started, said Presiding Officer Fazlul Quader. By 10:30am, the centre was empty.
The bdnews24.com correspondent found a procession of Elephant symbol supporters while entering the centre. “We could not cast our vote. Armed people captured the centre since morning and were stamping ballots on Elephant symbol,” said local resident SM Ismali Babu. Chittagong District’s Additional Superintendent of Police Mostafizur Rahman told reporters: “We are seeing the same thing that you are seeing. Nothing unpleasant happened here. No one complained.”
Asked why there were no voters at 10:30am, he replied:” Those responsible for that centre can answer that.”Security forces at the Fateyabad City Corporation Girls’ High School apparently sprang into action as soon as journalists reached there on receiving complaints of rigging. Several ballot papers, stamped on Elephant symbol, were found scattered at the polling station. Elephant poll symbol supporters at Fateybad College centre pounced on journalists when they tried to enter around 11:15am.
Voters lined up in queue outside the centre, but they were not allowed to go in while the police took no action against those that were stopping them.