Election Commission orders probe into allegations of attack on BNP’s Tabith

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-01-21 21:38:56 BdST

bdnews24
BNP-endorsed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal, along with his supporters, came under attack while they were campaigning at Parbata Kalabazar in Dhaka’s Gabtoli on Tuesday.

The Election Commission has ordered an investigation into alleged attacks on the BNP’s candidate for Dhaka North mayor Tabith Awal and his supporters during campaign.

The party raised the issue when its leaders went to the EC on Tuesday afternoon to file a complaint against the use of electronic voting machines in the polls to the two city corporations of the capital.

“The commission has heard the matter. The returning officer has been tasked with investigating it and file a report,” EC Secretary Md Alamgir told the media hours after the incident described by the police as a “scuffle” at Gabtoli.

Tabith later filed a complaint over the incident. He also alleged his campaign came under attack on Jan 12. 

Md Alamgir speaking to the media

Md Alamgir speaking to the media

Returning Officer Md Abul Kasem then sent two letters to Dar-us-Salam Police Station chief Tofayel Ahmed and Executive Magistrate Imran Shahriar asking them to investigate the incident, take action following the law and report within 48 hours. 

OC Tofayel was also asked to report what preventive measures were taken after the candidate had informed the authorities about the first incident.

Earlier, Magistrate Imran said he would take action over the allegations. 

Tabith blamed supporters of the Awami League-backed ward councillor Mujib Sarwar Masum for the incident. Masum could not be reached for comment.

The BNP candidate expressed doubt over the EC’s actions, saying it “always asks for evidence and footage but does not take steps when we submit these”.

“This [inaction] is worsening the situation,” he told the media.

BNP-endorsed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal, along with his supporters, came under attack while they were campaigning at Parbata Kalabazar in Dhaka’s Gabtoli on Tuesday.

BNP-endorsed mayoral candidate Tabith Awal, along with his supporters, came under attack while they were campaigning at Parbata Kalabazar in Dhaka’s Gabtoli on Tuesday.

Clashes erupted between the activists of two parties during an election campaign launched by Tabith Awal, the BNP-endorsed mayoral candidate for Dhaka North, at Parbata Kalabazar in Dhaka’s Gabtoli area on Tuesday.

Clashes erupted between the activists of two parties during an election campaign launched by Tabith Awal, the BNP-endorsed mayoral candidate for Dhaka North, at Parbata Kalabazar in Dhaka’s Gabtoli area on Tuesday.

He also demanded suspension and withdrawal of OC Tofayel alleging that the attack happened in presence of police.

“They attacked me from behind like cowards. Worst, the attack took place in front of the police officers,” Tabith said.

Police cited tension between the activists of the two parties during their respective campaigns but have denied any incident of violence.

“No such attack took place. There were only a few pushes and shoves between the activists. Later, the two parties were separated,” the OC said.

“Although Tabith was hit in the head during the attack, it is not serious. However, several activists are being taken to hospital,” Tabith’s assistant Mahumd Hasan told bdnews24.com.

The Awami League doubted that its activists attacked Tabith and his supporters.

Hasan Mahmud, a joint general secretary of the ruling party, believes that the BNP “itself plotted the attack as part of a conspiracy to pull the elections into question”.

“I think a quarter is actively working to taint the election atmosphere and it is important to check if they plotted it [the attack],” Hasan, who is also the information minister, told reporters at the Secretariat.

“The BNP has been trying to make the elections questionable since the beginning through a series of incidents. So, it also needs to be checked whether it [attack on Tabith] is part of that process,” he added.

Awami League candidate Atiqul Islam said the incident appeared to be “a clash between rival groups in the BNP”. 

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