Dhaka, Jan 5 (IANS) An election official and four opposition supporters were killed in poll violence in a number of Bangladesh districts Sunday morning, sources said.
Jobaidur Rahman (45), assistant presiding officer at a polling centre in Thakurgaon district, 407 km from here, was killed by unidentified miscreants hours before the elections began.
At least five on-duty policemen were also injured in the attack, Xinhua reported.
Two activists of Jamaat were killed in Rangpur district, as opposition supporters fought with the authorities to resist voting at the polling centre, the sources said.
The elections are boycotted by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its 17 allies.
Another man from the opposition party died in Nilphamari district after police opened fire to thwart attack at the polling centre.
Another BNP’s youth wing activist, who was critically injured Saturday in a clash with ruling Bangladesh Awami League (AL) party men in Lalmonirhat, died at a hospital in Rangpur early Sunday.
No police official was available for comment on the killings.
An Election Commission official told Xinhua at about 9.45 a.m. that voting in 37 polling centres has been postponed due to violence.
Voting will continue from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at about 18,000 polling stations set in schools and other public buildings.
Mired in controversy, Bangladesh’s 10th parliamentary election is being held in just 147 out of 300 seats in 59 out of 64 districts of the country. 153 candidates have already been elected unopposed amid boycott by the main opposition and its allies.
Some 21 parties including ex-prime minister Khaleda Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) are boycotting the elections over Hasina’s refusal to introduce a non-party interim government to oversee the election.
The BNP-led 18-party opposition alliance Saturday urged people to boycott the elections and warned that the government will be responsible for any untoward incident Sunday.
The BNP Friday announced another shutdown for 48 hours starting from Saturday. The shutdown, aimed at protesting the confinement of Zia and to seek cancellation of the polls, will end at 6 a.m. Monday.
Since Nov 26, the opposition alliance has enforced nationwide blockade for 22 days in phases, demanding the cancellation of the elections.
It wanted the polls to be held under an independent caretaker government, a demand the ruling Awami League has declined.