POST TIME: 14 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Stay vigilant to prevent 2014-like violence
CEC urges law enforcers

Stay vigilant
to prevent 

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), KM Nurul Huda, has urged law enforcers to remain alert, so that there is no violence during the coming polls, like it had happened in the 2014 general election. “A dreadful situation was created in 2014. I don’t want to discuss what was the reason behind it. We have to remain alert so that such a situation does not arise again,” he said. While addressing the coordination meeting of law enforcers at Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital, he said: “We can see vandalism and resistance here and there during campaigning. Is it only a political cause or are there other reasons to create violence like 2014. We have to look into the matter and make preparations accordingly.”

“When a spontaneous election environment is prevailing among people, an incident like killing and attack should not be considered as an isolated occurence,” the CEC asserted. “I think a powerful quarter does not want normal political and economic development. Everybody, especially the administration, law enforcers and intelligence agencies should remain aler,” the CEC said.

Drawing the attention of members of intelligence agencies, he said: “The deterioration of law and order should not be taken lightly. I would request you to keep an eye on the overall situation.”

About electronic voting machines (EVMs), Huda said: “We want to use EVMs. Hoodlums should not be allowed to rig the election. We have to prevent snatching of ballot boxes. We have to replace the traditional method of voting with the new election system.”

He said EVMs would be used in six constituencies and additional measures would be taken to ensure their security.

EVMs would be used in Rangpur-3, Khulna-2, Satkhira-2, Dhaka-6, Dhaka-13 and Chattogram-9 for the first time in the general election.

About election preparations, he said: “At least 95 per cent of the work has been completed. Now printing of ballot papers is in the process.”

The Commission has planned to deploy three tiers of law enforcers ahead of the parliamentary polls scheduled for December 30 to maintain law and order.

The army would be kept ready at a convenient place and the nodal point of each district/upazila/metropolitan areas from December 24 to January 1, said the CEC.

The armed forces would act as a striking force.

Law enforcers, the police, Ansar, RAB, Armed Police Battalion, BGB and the Coast Guard would be deployed as mobile/striking force a few days before the election to maintain law and order at poling stations and in the surrounding areas.

There will be 14 law enforcers, including two/three armed law enforcers comprising the police and Ansar, at a general polling station outside the metropolitan areas, while 15 law enforcers, including 3/4 armed law enforcers, would be posted at important centres.

In the metropolitan areas, there will be 16, including 3/5 armed law enforcers, at a general poling station, while 17, 4/6 of them armed, at important centres.

The police will be there for four days, starting two days before the election, while Ansar will be deployed for five days, starting two days before the polls.

RAB, the Armed Police Battalion, BGB and the Coast Guard will be present from December 26 to 1 January. About maintaining a peaceful environment for holding a fair election, the EC has decided to seize illegal arms in election areas, ensure security for the minorities and maintain communal harmony; control illegal intruders and prepare a level playing field.

Around 1.84 lakh law enforcers will be on election duty.  The EC has recruited 652 executive magistrates, 640 judicial magistrates, 40,183 presiding officers, 1,95,316 assistant presiding officer and 3,90,632 poling officers for election duty.

Besides, there will be 122 electoral inquiry committees, comprising 244 persons, to look into and prevent irregularities in the election.